25 people convicted for money laundering in India till now: Data

PTI, 9th Jun 2022

New Delhi, A total of 25 people have been convicted by courts in the country for the offence of money laundering while more than 400 arrests have been made since the ED was empowered to investigate serious financial crimes about 17 years back.

According to official data accessed by PTI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed as many as 5,422 cases or Enforcement Case Information Reports (ECIRs) under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) while it attached (provisionally) assets worth a whopping Rs 1,04,702 crore as part of 1,739 orders issued till March 2022.

The ED was entrusted to enforce the stringent provisions of the PMLA, enacted in 2002, from July 1, 2005.

The law empowers the agency to summon, arrest, attach the assets of the accused at the investigation stage and prosecute the offenders before a court of law.

The data said the federal agency also filed a total of 992 chargesheets or prosecution complaints before the courts during the same period.

A total of 25 people have been convicted for the offence of money laundering while 400 arrests have been made by the agency during the 17-year period since the PMLA came into force.

Those convicted, according to officials, include accused in cases of drug trafficking, sending fraudulent remittances abroad, terrorist financing and corruption in government funds among others.

The data said of the 1,739 provisional attachment of assets orders issued by it, 1,369 have been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA while it also confirmed the attachment of properties worth Rs 5,8591 crore out of the total 1,04,702 crore.

The agency has been investigating some high-profile people, including top politicians, bureaucrats, business groups, corporates, foreign nationals and others, under the anti-money laundering law.

Talking about the second law that the ED enforces nationally -- the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)-- the data showed that the agency initiated a probe in 30,716 cases till March 31.

The FEMA, a law with civil proceedings, was enacted in 1999 after repealing the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) of 1973.

Investigation was disposed of in 15,495 FEMA cases while show cause notices, post completion of probe, was issued in 8,109 cases. Of these, 6,472 show cause notices were adjudicated or finalised, the data said.

The agency has also got declared nine people, out of 14 applied for, as fugitive economic offenders (FEOs) by the courts, under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018.

Businessmen accused in multi-crore bank fraud cases, including Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, are among those declared FEOs by the courts.

The agency also has attached assets worth Rs 433 crore under the law that was enacted by the Narendra Modi government to cripple those who are charged with high-value economic frauds and abscond from the country to evade the law.