SC endorses ED powers under PMLA
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed the powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to arrest persons concerned, attach their properties and search the residential and official premises under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, hearing 200 petitions filed by various people including former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram, gave the verdict. The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C Ravikumar, said supply of an ECIR to the persons concerned in every case is not mandatory. And it is enough if the ED discloses the grounds for such arrests.
The bench further said that authorities under 2002 Act the ED sleuths are “not police officers as such” and the enforcement case information report (ECIR) cannot be equated with an FIR under the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr Pc). The court also observed that money laundering can be a threat to any financial system in the world. Upholding the validity of certain provisions of the Act, the court said that PMLA is not an “ordinary” offence.