- The SC reserved its judgment on a batch of petitions challenging the third extension given to Director of Enforcement.
- The Directorate of Enforcement is a multi-disciplinary organization mandated with investigation of offence of money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws.
- The statutory functions of the Directorate include enforcement of following Acts:
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA):
It is a criminal law enacted to prevent money laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from, or involved in, money-laundering and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
ED has been given the responsibility to enforce the provisions of the PMLA by:
- conducting investigation to trace the assets derived from proceeds of crime,
- to provisionally attach the property and
- to ensure prosecution of the offenders and confiscation of the property by the Special court.
The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA):
- It is a civil law enacted to consolidate and amend the laws to facilitate external trade and payments and to promote the orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India.
- ED has been given the responsibility to conduct investigation into suspected contraventions of foreign exchange laws and regulations, to adjudicate and impose penalties on those adjudged to have contravened the law.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA):
- This law was enacted to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
- It is a law whereby Directorate is mandated to attach the properties of the fugitive economic offenders who have escaped from the India warranting arrest and provide for the confiscation of their properties to the Central Government.
Other roles and functions of the ED
- The ED carries out search (property) and seizure (money/documents) after it has decided that the money has been laundered, under the PMLA.
- the ED can also directly carry out search and seizure without calling the person for questioning.
- It is not necessary to summon the person first and then start with the search and seizure.
- If the person is arrested, the ED gets 60 days to file the chargesheet as the punishment under PMLA doesn’t go beyond seven years.
- If no one is arrested and only the property is attached, then the prosecution complaint along with attachment order is to be submitted before the adjudicating authority within 60 days.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB