ED Can’t Arrest Accused Under PMLA After Special Court Takes Cognisance Of Complaint: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has made a significant ruling on Thursday regarding the powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in arresting individuals under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

According to the ruling, once a special court has taken cognisance of the ED’s complaint, the agency cannot arrest the accused on money laundering charges. The court stated that after the special court has taken cognisance of the offence, the ED and its officers are powerless to exercise powers under Section 19 of the PMLA to arrest the person accused in the complaint.

The bench, led by Justices Abhay S. Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan, emphasized that if the ED seeks custody of an accused, it must apply to the special court. The court also clarified that if the ED wishes to conduct additional investigations related to the same offence, it may arrest a person not initially named as an accused in the complaint, provided the requirements of Section 19 are met.

Section 19 of the PMLA permits ED officers to arrest an individual based on the possession of material and a recorded belief that the person is guilty.

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