ED’s actions against firms
The High Court of Karnataka has upheld the actions initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PML) Act in different cases against various companies, financial institutions and individuals, and dismissed the petitions filed by them challenging the legality of ED’s proceedings.
Prevention of Money Laundering (PML) Act
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted by the NDA government to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering.
- PMLA and the Rules notified there under came into force with effect from July 1, 2005.
- The Act and Rules notified there under impose obligation on banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information in prescribed form to Financial Intelligence Unit - India (FIU-IND).
- The act was amended in the year 2005, 2009 and 2012.
- On 24 Nov 2017, In a ruling in favour of citizens' liberty, the Supreme Court has set aside a clause in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which made it virtually impossible for a person convicted to more than three years in jail to get bail if the public prosecutor opposed it.
- Section 45 of the PMLA Act, 2002, provides that no person can be granted bail for any offence under the Act unless the public prosecutor, appointed by the government, gets a chance to oppose his bail.
- And should the public prosecutor choose to oppose bail, the court has to be convinced that the accused was not guilty of the crime and additionally that he/she was not likely to commit any offence while out on bail- a tall order by any count.
- It observed that the provision violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
- To prevent and control money laundering.
- To confiscate and seize the property obtained from the laundered money; and
- To deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India.
Punishment for Money - Laundering
- The Act prescribes that any person found guilty of money-laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment from three years to seven years and where the proceeds of crime involved relate to any offence under paragraph 2 of Part A of the Schedule (Offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985), the maximum punishment may extend to 10 years instead of 7 years.