New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is in the process of proposing an amendment to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA) which, if cleared by the Parliament, will help tighten the law against corruption and attempts to legitimize undeclared wealth.
It will also bring the Act at par with those in Australia and the UK.
The amendment seeks to permit the ED’s case against an individual or a group to stand even if a case on the same matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) falls through.
“The agency is still working on the amendment to ensure that the cases do not fall through… nothing concrete has been drafted as yet but we are working towards an airtight provision,” said a senior ED official, requesting anonymity.
Citing an example, senior central government officials familiar with the development said that with the CBI and the ED filing a joint case against former telecom minister A. Raja, the main accused in the 2G spectrum case, the case filed by the ED collapsed as soon as a special CBI court acquitted him on 21 December 2017.
“As of now, ED looks into the money trail and CBI probes corruption cases. In case of the 2G spectrum case, it was a joint case by both agencies, which fell through after the accused were acquitted, prompting both agencies to file an appeal against the verdict,” said a central government official who did not want to be quoted.
The ED official, however, clarified that the proposed amendment was not related to any particular case.
“The amendment is not the result of any particular case against any individual or entity. However, if it comes through, it will bring the Act at par with those in the West,” the ED official added.
At present, the ED (under the PMLA Act) and the CBI (under the Prevention of Corruption Act) have separate ongoing cases against business tycoon Vijay Mallya as well as Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and his relatives.
However, officials said that in both cases—Mallya and Lalu Prasad—the agencies’ cases did not have any bearing on each other. This means that the ED’s cases will continue to hold even if the CBI’s cases fall through.
“Formally, the cases filed by the ED and CBI have no bearing on one another because they are filed under different Acts. Informally, however, because they are both government agencies, there is a certain degree of internal information sharing and syndication between the two. However, if a CBI case falls through, it does not impact a case independently filed by the ED..,” the official quoted above added.livemint