The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to list a plea seeking review of its order upholding the Enforcement Directorate’s powers related to arrest, attachment of property involved in money laundering, search and seizure under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“Okay, we will list it,” a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said after the plea was mentioned before it. It is common experience the world over that money laundering can be a “threat” to the good functioning of a financial system, the court had observed on July 27 while upholding the validity of certain provisions of the PMLA. It underlined that this is not an “ordinary offence”.
The centre has argued that money laundering is a crime that is done by both terrorist organisations and shady businessmen, posing a serious threat to national security.
Authorities under the 2002 Act are “not police personnel as such,” according to a bench led by Justice A M Khanwilkar, and the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) cannot be compared to a First Information Report (FIR) under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
According to the bench, it is sufficient if the ED discloses the reasons for the arrest at the time of the arrest rather than always providing a copy of the ECIR to the individual in question.
The petitioners in the case had complained that the accused had not been given access to the contents of the ECIR.
The PMLA, which the opposition has frequently said has been weaponized by the government to harass its political opponents, was the subject of more than 200 petitions submitted by people and other entities, prompting the court’s decision.