Apex court says money laundering arrests “not arbitrary”

The court rejected nearly all objections against ED over its powers on initiating investigation, arrest etc.

The Supreme Court today backed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) with a significant judgement that rejected nearly all objections raised against the Central probe agency over powers regarding initiating investigation, power to arrest and so on. The apex court upheld almost all the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) in proceeds of crime, search, seizure, power to arrest, attaching properties, bail etc. which had been challenged in court.

Petitioners had argued that the huge power of the ED to arrest the accused without informing them of the grounds of arrest or evidence is unconstitutional. They also argued that the ED recording incriminating statements from an accused during questioning under the threat of being fined for withholding information amounts to compulsion. The petitioners had also said that leaving the accused to prove his/her innocence also violates fundamental rights. The Centre has said in court that due to the serious nature of money laundering offences, putting the accused to prove innocence is justified.

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