Oppn preparing to approach SC to seek PMLA order review


NEW DELHI: In the wake of a series of Enforcement Directorate actions against leaders of the anti-BJP bloc, Opposition parties are preparing to jointly approach the Supreme Court to seek a review of its July 27 verdict in which it affirmed provisions of the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and upheld the powers of the ED to conduct investigations, carry out arrests, and issue summons. This, the Opposition leaders plan to argue will “lethally arm” the ED, is a “grievous attack on democracy” and creates room for “further harassment”.
The decision to seek a review of the apex court verdict comes on the heels of allegations by the Opposition that the BJP government has been resorting to a “gross misuse” of central investigative agencies by deploying them to target Opposition leaders and destabilise democratically elected governments.
Speaking on the sidelines of the CPM’s Central Committee meeting that concluded on Sunday, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “All Opposition parties are discussing this together and a joint statement will be issued soon.”
It remains unclear as yet whether the political parties will move court as petitioners themselves or seek a review through another person. However, a broad consensus has emerged that the apex court’s verdict must be challenged, since it gives unbridled powers to the ED. The opposition parties plan to demand that the court strike down the 2019 amendments to the PMLA, and revert to the 2012 version of the money laundering law.
While amendments brought to the original PMLA law in 2012 had widened the definition of money laundering by including activities such as concealment, acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime as criminal activities, the 2019 amendments gave the ED additional powers to arrest, attach property, search and seize.





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