SC Says ED Can't Arrest Accused under PMLA after Special Court Takes Cognisance of Complaint
Moneylife Digital Team 16 May 2024
In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court held that the enforcement directorate (ED) and its officers cannot arrest an accused exercising powers under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after the special court has taken cognisance of the complaint for money laundering.
"If the ED wants custody of such an accused, then they will have to apply to the special court," the bench of justice Abhay S Oka and justice Ujjal Bhuyan says.
"After cognisance is taken of the offence punishable under Section 4 of the PMLA based on a complaint under Section 44, the ED and its officers are powerless to exercise powers under Section 19 to arrest the person shown as accused in the complaint," the bench says.
Further, while hearing the application, the special court may permit custody only if it is satisfied that custodial interrogation is required even though the accused was never arrested under Section 19, the apex court clarified.
Further, the bench says an accused who is not arrested by ED during the money laundering probe but appears before the special court under the summons issued under PMLA need not satisfy stringent twin test for bail under Section 45 PMLA.
The bench was examining whether an accused who is not arrested during the period of investigation under PMLA would also be required to meet the law's stringent bail conditions if he appears before the court after the trial court takes cognisance of the ED complaint and summons such person.
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