Thursday, May 23, 2024

If the case is in a special court, the ED has no powers of arrest

New Delhi, Leading News Service: If a money laundering case is filed in a special court, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has no powers to arrest the accused under Section 19 of the 'PMLA' Act, the Supreme Court clarified in its judgment on Thursday.

A bench of Justice Abhay Oak and Justice Ujjwal Bhuiya has given this decision against the order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by the accused in the money laundering case. In this case related to land scam, 'ED' had arrested some revenue officials in money laundering case. The Supreme Court had granted interim bail to the accused in January this year.

Application has to be made to 'ED'

If the accused appears after the summons has been issued by the court, he cannot be deemed to be in custody. The bench has also clarified in its decision that the investigating agency will have to apply to the concerned court to detain the accused. Money laundering
If the accused in the case appears as per the summons of the court, he need not apply for bail. The bench clarified that even the conditions for bail under Section 45 of the 'PMLA' Act cannot be applied to this accused.

In the last hearing held on April 30, the Supreme Court had asked whether the accused can apply for bail under the CrPC Act if he appears after being summoned under the PMLA. Thereafter, the decision of the matter was reserved.

Remand to 'ED' only if investigation is required

If the accused appears as per the summons issued by the court, then the ED will have to submit an application to the special court to remand him. Custody remand to 'ED' will be given only after it is confirmed that there is a real need for interrogation of the accused. The bench clarified that the investigating officer cannot exercise the special powers conferred under Section 19 of the 'PMLA' Act against an accused who is not in custody during interrogation. If an accused in a money laundering case has applied for bail, the bail will be granted only after the court hears the arguments of his counsel and is satisfied that the accused is not a criminal. In November 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 45 (1) of the 'PMLA' Act was invalid. Two additional conditions were imposed by the court while granting bail to the accused in the money laundering case.

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