Cases under PMLA are double trial: Special court

A special court here has granted bail to two persons booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), but never arrested, saying cases under the Act are basically a “double trial” and therefore “there is no hope” of their early disposal.

The court also observed that “not a single case” under the PMLA has been disposed of so far by way of judgment.

Special judge M G Deshpande allowed the bail pleas of Pramod Dave and Dinesh Bangar, accused in a money laundering case, on February 15, while a detailed order was made available on February 16.

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They were booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last year in the money laundering case, but never arrested.

The court, in its judgement, said if the ED found involvement of the accused in such a serious offence, it would have arrested him, but the probe agency didn’t do so.

Once an accused, who is not arrested during investigation and even after filing of a complaint/charge-sheet, appears before the court scrupulously responding to summons, the court has to examine whether he will appear for trial in the future, the judge observed.

“In my opinion, applicant(s) has deep roots in the society. There is nothing before the court that he had attempted to abscond or even tamper with the evidence of prosecution,” he said.

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The court held that “since the beginning not a single case under the PMLA has been disposed of by judgment”.

“The trial of PMLA cases is basically a double trial. Because while trying a PMLA case, the case relating to the scheduled offences has to be tried simultaneously.

“Therefore, in the future there is no hope that, this case will be disposed of finally on merit as early as possible,” the judge noted.

Given this background, if the applicants, who have never been arrested, are taken into custody and remanded to judicial remand, then it will cause injustice to them, the court said while ruling on the bail pleas.

The PMLA has two sections – ‘scheduled offences and ‘offence of money laundering’. Scheduled offences include criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the Government of India and counterfeiting government stamp, among others.

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