Can ED Arrest An Accused Under PMLA After Special Court's Cognizance? Here's What Supreme Court Said

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) In a recent development, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday (May 16) issued a landmark judgment, restricting the powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding the arrest of accused individuals under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ruling, delivered by a bench comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuy, said that the ED and its officers are barred from arresting an accused under Section 19 of the PMLA once the Special Court has taken cognizance of the complaint.

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According to the ruling, if the ED seeks custody of an accused individual, it must file an application before the court for custody. Furthermore, individuals who appear before the court in response to summons are not required to apply for bail, thereby exempting them from the stringent twin conditions outlined in Section 45 of the PMLA.

Section 45 of the PMLA mandates that the public prosecutor be given an opportunity to oppose the bail application, and the court must be convinced that there are reasonable grounds to believe the accused is not guilty and is unlikely to commit any offense while on bail. These conditions typically pose significant hurdles for accused individuals seeking bail in money laundering cases.

The verdict emanated from a case questioning whether accused individuals in money laundering cases must fulfill the stringent bail conditions when the special court has already taken cognizance of the offense.

The Supreme Court, which had reserved its judgment on April 30, deliberated on various aspects, including the ED's authority to arrest individuals under Section 19 of the PMLA after the trial court's cognizance of the agency's complaint.

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Additionally, it addressed whether accused individuals, who were not arrested during the investigation period under the PMLA, would be subject to stringent bail conditions upon appearing before the court following summons issued by the special court under the PMLA.


AsiaNet News

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