Kerala High Court Grants Relief to Thomas Isaac in FEMA Violations Case

Kerala HC directs ED not to summon Thomas Isaac, LDF candidate, for FEMA violations related to KIIFB masala bonds until elections end.

In a recent development, the Kerala High Court issued a directive to the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), urging them not to summon former Finance Minister Thomas Isaac for questioning until the Lok Sabha elections conclude. Isaac, currently contesting from the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency as the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate, sought relief from the court in connection with a case involving alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations during the issuance of masala bonds by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

During the hearing, Justice T.R. Ravi emphasized that, given Isaac's participation in the elections, he should not face unnecessary summons for questioning. The court reviewed documents submitted by the ED, noting that Isaac needed to provide explanations regarding certain end-use transactions of funds acquired through masala bonds. However, the court refrained from disclosing specific transaction details at this stage, considering them as matters to be addressed during the investigation.

The court stressed that any further investigation into these transactions should be postponed until after the elections. The modality of obtaining Isaac's explanation would be deliberated upon in subsequent hearings.

When the ED proposed allowing Isaac to appear at a convenient date, the court expressed concerns that such a directive might pressure Isaac to abandon his stance of not being obligated to appear before the ED. Consequently, the court deferred further proceedings to May 22.

Isaac argued that the summons required him to provide oral evidence regarding fund utilization during his tenure as the chairman of the executive committee and vice-chairman of the general committee of KIIFB. He alleged that the timing of the summons was a deliberate attempt to disrupt his election campaign.