The Supreme Court today said that it will hear all pending pleas seeking “no coercive action” in Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases on August 3.
The bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Krishna Murari & Justice V Ramasubramanian gave the directions while hearing a batch of petitions along with the plea by former Maharashtra’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh seeking protection from any coercive action in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate.
During the hearing today Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said,
“This is one of those matter where a large number of matters are challenging the Validity of provision(s) and praying for no coercive steps.”
The Court said:.”
“In these Writ Petitions besides challenging the constitutional validity of the PMLA Act, prayer has been made for quashing the proceedings as under the PMLA provisions.
Not a single order has been brought to our notice & only other cases have been brought before us to have no coercive steps against the petitioners. SG says that is it time to revisit those orders & has relied on 3 judge bench orders.
Let this plea be listed on August 3, 2021, along with connected cases so that the relief of no coercive action be considered
The Court is expected to streamline the timeline for deciding issues relating to Enforcement Directorate's powers for taking on investigations, issuance of summons, carrying out arrests etc. and hear the cases which will affect a number of high profile cases concerning Money Launderng including Karti Chidambaram’s INX media case, Akali Dal minister Sarwan Phillaur's corruption case, e-Tender scam in Madhya Pradesh as well as the money laundering charges against diamond trader Ritesh Jain and others.
The most recent case pertaining to the issue is that of former Home Minister of Maharashtra, Anil Deshmukh, who moved the Supreme Court on Sunday seeking protection from any coercive action in a money laundering case, after issuance of fresh summons demanding his presence on July 5 by the Enforcement Directorate.
Deshmukh is facing an ED investigation on the basis of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case as the fallout of the allegations made in a letter penned by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, who is now the Commandant-General of Home Guards alleging bribery of at least Rs 100 crore.
It is pertinent to mention that former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has also moved Bombay High Court seeking quashing of portions of FIR filed by the CBI against former Home Minister as a result of corruption allegations made against him by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The matter is currently in sub judice before bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamadar wherein Deshmukh’s lawyer on Friday had informed the court that, “the ongoing CBI inquiry over corruption charges was “illegal and in breach of legal procedure” and his rights must be protected under rule of law.”
The larger issue surrounding the above batch of plea's among 200 others are concerned with the interpretation of Prevention of Money Laundering Act as well which have been pending since 2014 before Top Court.Case Title: Batch of Petitions