The Enforcement Directorate has registered 5,422 cases under the anti-money laundering law since its inception. Out of these, 3,555 have been registered since 2014. That means that around 65% of the cases were registered in the last eight years.
The total attachment of alleged proceeds of crime come to Rs 1,04,702 crore.
These numbers, recently revealed by the central government in the Lok Sabha, brought to light the increasing role of the Enforcement Directorate as an investigating agency. Leading some to question the agency’s independence since it comes under the Ministry of Finance, arguments around arbitrary use of its powers, and calling it a tool to target political rivals.
Within days of this data being revealed, the Supreme Court passed a verdict that’ll further empower the ED. The apex court heard over 241 petitions for over 20 days on the legality of the powers of the agency including arrest, bail and summons. Twelve senior advocates pressed the case for the petitioners challenging the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 which lays down the powers the agency.
In the end, arguments by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General of India S.V Raju, prevailed who defended the powers of the agency.
Here are the court’s views on some of the key powers of the agency which were upheld in the judgment.