A single-judge bench of Justice AS Gadkari said for probing a money laundering case, once an enforcement case information report is registered under the PMLA, it stands on its own and thereafter does not require the support of the scheduled offence
By Kanchan Chaudhari
PUBLISHED ON MAR 19, 2021 10:08 AM IST
The Bombay high court has held that investigations by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) are totally independent of and can continue irrespective of the outcome of the scheduled base offences.
A single-judge bench of Justice AS Gadkari on Tuesday said for probing a money laundering case, registration of a scheduled offence mentioned in the schedule to the PMLA is necessary. But he added once an enforcement case information report (ECIR) is registered under the PMLA, it stands on its own and thereafter does not require the support of the scheduled offence.
The court said the ED’s probe thereafter does not depend even on the ultimate result of the scheduled offence. “Even if the scheduled offence is compromised, compounded, quashed or the accused therein is/are acquitted, ED’s investigation is not affected.”
The court was hearing a plea of Babulal Verma and Kamal Kishore Gupta, promoters of a realty firm in Mumbai, against whom ED has started investigation under PMLA. ED’s probe was based on a case of cheating and a criminal breach of trust registered against them in Aurangabad in March 2020.
ED in December registered an ECIR and started an investigation. Verma and Gupta thereafter cleared all dues of the complainant and accordingly, the case against them was closed in February.
The two later sought their release on bail citing the closure of the scheduled offence. They moved the high court after a special PMLA court in Mumbai rejected their plea on February 15.