These Eight High-Profile Cases Can Be Expedited After Supreme Court Upholds ED's Powers
Supreme Court upheld ED's powers to arrest, attach property involved in money laundering, and conduct search and seizure under the PMLA.
Troubles of politicians facing the charges of money laundering in various cases might increase.
As Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday (27 July) showed its trust in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002, many high-profile cases can be expected to be expedited.
"Considering the purposes and objects of the legislation in the form of 2002 Act and the background in which it had been enacted owing to the commitment made to the international bodies and on their recommendations, it is plainly clear that it is a special legislation to deal with the subject of money laundering activities having transnational impact on the financial systems including sovereignty and integrity of the countries," the SC said.
The top court delivered its verdict on a clutch of petitions concerning the interpretation of certain provisions of the PMLA. It upheld the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) powers to arrest, attach property involved in money laundering, and conduct search and seizure under the PMLA.
1. National Herald Case: Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been questioned multiple times in recent weeks by the ED in connection with a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
The case revolves around cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of the National Herald, by Young Indian Ltd (YIL).
The ED is currently probing the shareholding pattern, the financial transactions of AJL and YIL, and the role of Congress functionaries in the functioning of the two entities.
It is alleged that YIL took over over the assets of AJL in a malicious manner and paid just Rs 50 lakh to obtain the rights to recover Rs 90.25 crore which AJL owed the Congress party.
2. Satyendra Jain: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain was arrested by ED in a money laundering case on 30 May. He was kept in judicial custody for many weeks and is presently admitted to the Lok Nayak hospital.
On Wednesday, ED filed a prosecution complaint (charge sheet) against him and others including his wife Poonam Jain, and also moved to the Delhi High Court to get the accused medically evaluated by any independent hospital like Ram Manohar Lohia hospital or AIIMS.
The matter will be heard on Friday. The agency had claimed to have seized "unexplained" cash worth Rs 2.85 crore and 133 gold coins after the first round of raids conducted on 6 June against Jain's family and others.
The ED had alleged, that "during the period 2015-16, when Satyendar Kumar Jain was a public servant, the companies beneficially owned and controlled by him received accommodation entries to the tune of Rs 4.81 crore from shell (paper) companies against cash transferred to Kolkata-based entry operators through the hawala route".
3. D K Shivakumar: In a charge sheet filed on 24 May before a special PMLA court in Delhi, ED said that Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar "devised a well-planned criminal conspiracy' with four of his aides to allegedly hide unaccounted cash worth crores that was seized by the Income-tax department from premises linked to him in 2017."
Describing the role of 60-year-old Shivakumar, the ED said he is the "main accused involved in process/activity related to money laundering who converted his tainted money into untainted money/property etc. and devised a well-planned criminal conspiracy to hide the source of such trained cash with active participation and help of other accused".
The agency said during the course of proceedings before the I-T department and the ED, the Congress leader "could not produce any evidence in support of Rs 40 lakh on account of agriculture income and it is established beyond doubt that there is no other source of cash except for unaccounted cash of D K Shivakumar".
4. Anil Parab: Transport Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Anil Parab was questioned by the ED for three consecutive days in June in connection with a money laundering case.
He is facing a probe linked to alleged violation of coastal regulation zone provisions in the construction of Sai resort in Dapoli in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district where an agricultural land was illegally 'converted'.
The ED had raided his premises and those allegedly linked to him in May, after registering a fresh case under the PMLA against him and others. However, the Shiv Sena leader denied any wrongdoing.
5. Karti Chidambaram: The ED registered a money laundering case in May against Karti Chidamabaram and others in the alleged scam about the issuance of visas to 263 Chinese nationals in 2011 when his father P Chidambaram was the home minister.
The federal agency has filed its case under the provisions of the PMLA taking cognisance of the first information report by the CBI in the same case.
There are allegations of bribe of Rs 50 lakh being paid to Chidambaram and his close associate S Bhaskararaman by a top executive of Vedanta group company Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (TSPL), which was setting a power plant in Punjab for re-issuance of project visa for 263 Chinese workers employed there.
6. Nawab Malik: The ED had submitted a charge sheet in April against Minority Development Minister in MVA government Nawab Malik in an alleged money laundering case linked to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
Malik, a senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, was arrested on 23 February in the case and was in jail till June but has been seeking medical treatment out of custody since then.
His properties including Goawala compound and a commercial unit in Mumbai's suburban Kurla (West), a 147.79-acre agricultural land located in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, three flats in Kurla (West) and two residential flats in Bandra (West) were attached by the ED in April.
A prime property of Mrs Munira Plumber was 'usurped' by Nawab Malik through Solidus Investments Pvt. Ltd., a company owned by the family members of Nawab Malik and controlled by Nawab Malik, with active connivance of the members of D-gang (Dawood Ibrahim gang) including Haseena Parkar, the ED said.
7. Anil Deshmukh: Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh was arrested by the ED on 2 November 2021 in a money laundering case.
The ED had launched a probe against Deshmukh and his associates after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR against him on charges of corruption and misuse of official position.
The ED's case is that while serving as state home minister, Deshmukh allegedly misused his official position and through Sachin Waze, a police officer who has been dismissed from service after his arrest in the 'Antilia' bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran killing cases, collected Rs 4.70 crore from various bars in Mumbai.
The money was laundered to Nagpur-based Shri Sai Shikshan Sansthan, an educational trust controlled by the Deshmukh family, it said.
8. Rana Ayyub: The ED attached funds worth over Rs 1.77 crore of journalist Rana Ayyub in February in connection with a money laundering probe linked to alleged diversion of donor funds for personal use.
The money laundering case against Ayyub is based on a September 2021 FIR of Ghaziabad Police (Uttar Pradesh) related to alleged irregularities in funds obtained by her from the public for charitable purposes.
ED has claimed that Ayyub received foreign donations without having any approval under FCRA (foreign contribution regulation act), mandatory to receive any funding from abroad.
She was stopped by authorities at the Mumbai international airport from flying abroad in March in the wake of a 'look out circular' issued by the ED) against her.
(With inputs from PTI)
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