The Supreme Court gave a big verdict on the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday and said all the actions of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under PMLA including arrest, raid, and summons are justified.
Various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were challenged and the Supreme Court has dismissed all the petitions upholding the validity of various provisions of the PMLA.
The decision of the Supreme Court is a big setback for the people trapped in the cases registered by the ED. The apex court has said that the amendments made in the law four years ago in 2018 are correct. The court said that the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) cannot be clubbed with the FIR and the ECIR is an internal document of the ED. The court also said that a copy of ECIR is not required to be given to the accused. It is enough to disclose the reasons for the arrest.
Moreover, more than 100 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of several provisions of PMLA. These included challenges to the power of the ED, summons to witnesses and the manner of confiscation of property, the right to arrest, and the bail process. The petitions were filed by NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, Congress leaders Karti Chidambaram, Mehbooba Mufti, and others.
Meanwhile, the petitioners had said that many provisions of PMLA are unconstitutional. The petitioners have said that the right of bail, arrest, and confiscation of property under this Act is outside the purview of CrPC. The petitions also said that the investigating agency should be bound to follow the CrPC during the investigation. Several lawyers, including senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, had presented their side in the matter.
However, in response to a question in the Lok Sabha on behalf of the Central Government, it was told that PMLA came into force 17 years ago and since then 5,422 cases have been registered under it. But only 23 people have been convicted so far. The ED has attached assets worth more than one lakh crore till March 31 and has filed a charge sheet in 992 cases.