By Payal MehtaNew Delhi [India], March 27 (ANI): In the midst of the entire face-off between opposition parties and the government over the alleged targeting of opposition leaders by central agencies, the Centre has told Parliament that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recorded 579 cases of money laundering in the current financial year.
"The details of Money Laundering cases recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) by Directorate of Enforcement," the Ministry of Finance has stated in a written reply to Parliament.
The number of cases in 2018-19 stood at 195, and 2019-20 saw this figure at 562. The number of cases in 2020-2021 went upto 981 and to 1,180 in 2021-2022. This made it a total of 3,497 cases in the last 5 years.
To a question asked by Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Congress Deepak Baji on the details of what action had been taken by ED on shell companies, MoS Finance Kailash Chaudhary has said, "The Directorate of Enforcement is an investigation agency which is mandated with the task of enforcing provisions of FEMA, PMLA and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA). The role of the Directorate comes in to picture as and when any contravention under FEMA and occurrence of scheduled offence disclosing the generation of Proceeds of Crime (PoC) as defined under Section 2(1)(u) of PMLA is noticed by the Directorate or a warrant of arrest issued by the Magistrate or Court after taking cognizance of any scheduled offence appended to FEOA and where the amount involved is Rs 100 crores or above, provided the accused has gone outside India."Further, the Finance Minister stated, "During investigations under the provisions of PMLA and FEMA, the role of several Indian Shell Companies and foreign companies/offshore Shell Companies in money laundering has been noticed. Necessary action as per provisions of PMLA and FEMA has been taken in these cases."On being asked to furnish the details of the cases where action had been taken state-wise by the Bastar MP, the minister said, "Disclosure of further information may not be in the larger public interest as the same may hamper the ongoing investigation."Several opposition leaders including K Kavitha from BRS are being questioned by ED.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia has been arrested and is presently lodged in jail in an ED case.
TMC leaders Abhishek Banerjee and former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut, and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren are among those grilled by the agency. (ANI)