New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court will deliver its judgment on a batch of pleas challenging the various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday.
The verdict by the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravi Kumar is likely to affect a huge number of opposition leaders — including Congress’s Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi — who are under the scanner of the Central investigating agency. On July 15, the Supreme Court said that its judgment on the pleas challenging the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is “almost ready”.
The petitions are concerned with the interpretation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The top Court has earlier reserved its order on a batch of petitions challenging certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The petitioners’ name includes politician Karti Chidambaram and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti among others.
The petitions raised multiple issues including one of the absences of procedure to commence investigation and summoning and the Accused is not made aware of the contents of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR).
Mufti had challenged constitutional vires of Section 50, and any incidental provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Section 50 of the PMLA empowers the ‘authority’ i.e., officers of the Enforcement Directorate, to summon any person to give evidence or produce records. All persons summoned are bound to answer questions put to them, and to produce the documents as required by the ED officers, failing which they can be penalized under the PMLA.
However, the Centre had justified the constitutional validity of the provisions of PMLA. The Centre had defended the amendments to PMLA, saying money laundering poses threat not only to financial systems but the integrity and sovereignty of nations, since money laundering is conducted not just by corrupt businessmen like Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi but also by terror groups.
Altogether, 242 appeals have been filed on the issue. Among the prominent names who are currently under the ED scanner are Congress’s Sonia Gandhi who was questioned on Tuesday, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Trinamool Congress’s Partha Chatterjee.