The Delhi High Court has said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is free to freeze bank accounts of absconding self-styled preacher Virender Dev Dixit in accordance with law.

The Court has permitted CBI to proceed in this case while dealing with a writ petition filed by Foundation for Social Empowerment.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula ordered, “CBI has furnished details of certain bank accounts being operated by the accused, based upon the input received from Financial Intelligence Unit. CBI is free to freeze all such accounts, in accordance with law, if so advised.”

Amicus Curiae Aakanksha Kaul represented the petitioner while CGSC Anil Soni and Government Pleader Devvrat Yadav represented the respondents.

A report was received by CBI furnishing all minute details in respect of the steps taken by them to arrest Virender Dev Dixit, an accused in a number of criminal cases. The petitioner had alleged that several minor girls and women were illegally confined at the "spiritual university" ran by Virender and were not allowed to meet their parents.

The court had earlier directed the CBI to take steps for arresting Virender after it was brought to its notice that he or his followers were uploading videos on around six YouTube channels and social media handles. It was also informed to the court that a large number of such videos were being uploaded since March 2018.

The High Court in the above regard observed, “This Court is satisfied with the attempts and progress made by CBI in the matter, however, as CBI is still in the process of apprehending Mr. Virender Dev Dixit, the report is being returned back in sealed cover to CBI.”

The Court, therefore, granted time of six weeks to CBI for taking further appropriate steps towards arrest of Virender and filing a fresh status report to that effect.

Accordingly, the High Court will hear the case next on November 24, 2023.

Cause Title- Foundation for Social Empowerment v. Union of India and Ors.

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