Supreme Court to deliver verdict on pleas against Money Laundering Act today

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 03:13 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will deliver its judgment on a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of a slew of stringent provisions added to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

A bench, headed by justice AM Khanwilkar, will pronounce its verdict on a spectrum of issues pertaining to the rigorous provisions enunciated under PMLA and the wide powers accorded to the Enforcement Directorate.
A bench, headed by justice AM Khanwilkar, will pronounce its verdict on a spectrum of issues pertaining to the rigorous provisions enunciated under PMLA and the wide powers accorded to the Enforcement Directorate.
By, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will deliver its judgment on a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of a slew of stringent provisions added to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

A bench, headed by justice AM Khanwilkar, will pronounce its verdict on a spectrum of issues pertaining to the rigorous provisions enunciated under PMLA and the wide powers accorded to the Enforcement Directorate.

The bench, which will also comprise justices Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravi Kumar, will deliver its ruling on aspects such as non-supply of Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), which is equivalent of an FIR in an ordinary criminal case, to the accused, power to conduct raids and make immediate arrests, tough conditions of bail, attachment of properties quickly after registration of a case, and lack of an oversight mechanism.

A batch of petitions filed by several persons facing ED proceedings under PMLA, including Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, has alleged that the law is violative of constitutional guarantee of right to liberty and right against self-incrimination under Articles 20 and 21. They have also questioned the alleged unbridled power given to ED and widening of the law to convert any offence into a money-laundering offence.

In its defence, the Union government has said that the PMLA advances India’s commitment to fight against money laundering, in tandem with its international obligations.

Referring to how the amendments have yielded results in cases probed against fugitive economic offenders Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, solicitor general Tushar Mehta said: “In these three cases alone, ED has confiscated over 18,000 crore worth proceeds of crime due to orders issued by the courts and the amount was returned to the banks.”

In the last five years, according to the Centre, “only 2,086 cases were taken up for investigation under the PMLA out of approximately 33 lakh (3.3 million) FIRs registered for predicate offences by police and other enforcement agencies.”

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