"Drastic powers given to Enforcement Directorate,": Senior advocate to SCtext_fields
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been given "drastic powers" to investigate allegations of money laundering, and these powers need to be restrained, the Supreme Court was informed Wednesday.
A collection of complaints filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Gurugram-based realty business M3M were being heard by a bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of directors of realty group M3M, said, "These are drastic powers given to the ED. If the court does not rein them in, no one is safe in this country. See how the arrest was done. They were cooperating. The arrest was in violation of my rights... These powers need to be reined in."
Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal, directors of M3M, were being defended by Mr Salve and senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi after they were taken into custody as part of a money laundering investigation involving a case of bribery involving a former judge, Indian Express reported.
The bench dismissed the Bansal brothers' appeals in its ruling, noting that they should now seek the Punjab and Haryana High Court for anticipatory bail.
In the money laundering investigation connected to a bribery case against a former judge, the top court was hearing a number of petitions, including appeals to a recent Delhi High Court judgement that had declined to interfere with the arrest of M3M directors.
On June 14, the ED detained the Bansal brothers in accordance with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). They were thereafter presented before a special PMLA court in Panchkula, Haryana, which ordered them to spend five days in ED custody.
In the money laundering case involving real estate firm IREO, the High Court awarded interim protection from arrest to Basant and Pankaj Bansal on June 9. This protection is valid until July 5.
According to the Bansals, this type of confinement is illegal imprisonment and was done in an effort to get around the High Court's orders protecting them from coercive action in a different money laundering case.
The Haryana Police Anti-Corruption Bureau's (ACB) FIR against former special judge of the CBI Sudhir Parmar, who was posted in Panchkula, another director of M3M, Roop Kumar Bansal, and another person was filed on April 17 and is the subject of the money laundering case in which the Bansal brothers have been detained.
The ED asserted that it had information indicating that Mr Parmar was showing favouritism to the accused in a money laundering case involving the real estate firm IREO.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court suspended Mr Parmar after the ACB filed the case.
On June 1, the ED conducted searches in Delhi and Gurugram against the M3M Group, its directors, and IREO.
In a news release, the ED said that Basant Bansal, Roop Kumar Bansal, Pankaj Bansal, and other important individuals purposefully avoided being interviewed during the raids as owners, controllers, and promoters of the M3M Group.
It alleged a "huge amount of money running into hundreds of crores was siphoned off through the M3M Group" in this case.