ED to choose cases on merit for FIR on money laundering

New Delhi: Wary of dealing with legally weak and non-productive cases, the Enforcement Directorate has decided to register fresh money laundering cases after making sure there is a certainty of tracing “substantial” proceeds of crime against the entities it is probing.

The step has been taken to ensure that the quality of money laundering cases is not compromised.

The agency, which is entrusted with probing some sensitive and important cases of financial crimes and terror funding, has taken a decision in this regard citing amendments to Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2012 which were made on February 15 last year.

The amendment stipulated that there would be no minimum monetary benchmark for registration of an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED equivalent of a police FIR.

Earlier, under PMLA rules, the ED could probe only those cases which had a minimum threshold value of Rs 30 lakh. The PMLA is one of the most stringent laws when it comes to prosecuting the guilty as the important clause of this Act is that the onus of proving non-guilty is on the accused.

The ED headquarters has issued a circular last year directing all its zonal offices in the country about the new criteria to be followed before registering an ECIR.

“Where there is likelihood of tracing substantial proceeds of crime involved in money laundering, where there is availability of charge sheets or prosecution complaints filed by law enforcement agencies or any other special reasons,” are the new guidelines, accessed by PTI, for agency sleuths before proceeding to register a money laundering case.

“The new step has been taken to ensure that the quality of money laundering cases is not compromised. There is no sense in registering a case and not being able to take it to the logical conclusion which is getting a good prosecution and punishment from the law for the crime under PMLA. This law was made with this sole purpose,” a Revenue department source said.