Supreme Court Grants Interim Bail To PMLA Accused As Chargesheet Dropped Scheduled Offence

Update: 2024-05-18 10:10 GMT
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The Supreme Court on Friday (May 17) granted interim bail to a man who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate after noting that there is no scheduled offence as per the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) against him in the chargesheet filed in the predicate case.The Court noted that the proceedings under the PMLA can be initiated only if offences mentioned in the schedule of...

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The Supreme Court on Friday (May 17) granted interim bail to a man who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate after noting that there is no scheduled offence as per the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) against him in the chargesheet filed in the predicate case.

The Court noted that the proceedings under the PMLA can be initiated only if offences mentioned in the schedule of the PMLA (predicate offences) are involved.

A bench comprising Justices Suya Kant and KV Viswanathan was hearing a petition filed by Chhattisgarh-based businessman Sunil Kumar Agarwal who was arrested in an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered in Raipur for the offence of money laundering in relation to coal transportation. The predicate case of the ECIR was an FIR registered by the Karnataka Police on a complaint by the Income Tax officials over alleged obstruction of search operations of destruction of incriminating materials. Allegations regarding extortion in relation to coal transportation were also raised and the offence of extortion (Section 384 of the Indian Penal Code) was added to the FIR.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes forwarded the case files to the ED which led to the registration of the subject matter ECIR.

However, when the chargesheet was filed in respect of the Karnataka police FIR, the offence of extortion (S.384 IPC) was dropped. The chargesheet only mentioned Section 204 (destruction of documents) and Section 353 (assault to deter public servants from discharging official duties) of the IPC. Both are not scheduled offences under the PMLA.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for ED, sought time to seek instructions on whether the Chhatisgarh police case mentions scheduled offences against the petitioner. While agreeing to grant six weeks time, the Court thought it fit to release the petitioner on interim bail. The fact that the accused was under custody for nearly one year and six months also weighed with the Court.

"We find that the petitioner has made out prima facie a strong case for enlargement on interim bail," the Court observed.

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Vikas Pahwa represented the petitioner. The petition was filed through Adv Tushar Giri and Sahil Bhalaik AOR.

Case : Sunil Kumar Agrawal v Directorate of Enforcement | SLP (CRP) 5890/2024

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Related :

'No Predicate Offence, No Proceeds Of Crime' : Supreme Court Quashes ED Complaint Related To Chhatisgarh Liquor Case

ED Can't Invoke PMLA Using S.120B IPC When Criminal Conspiracy Isn't Linked To A Scheduled Offence : Supreme Court

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