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J'khand HC order set to nail laundering charges against Kani

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Buoyed by a Jharkhand High Court order in a case, the Enforcement Directorate is set to file a charge sheet against DMK leader Kanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A Raja for alleged money laundering charges in the 2G telecom spectrum case.

The agency is understood to have found evidence with regard to the channelling of Rs 200 crore to the DMK family-run Kalaignar TV through a circuitous route and has relied on a 2010 Jharkhand High Court order to slap the charge of "criminal proceeds" against the accused, including the duo, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The court order, relating to Hari Narain Roy vs Union of India, had stated that any money laundering related offence prior to the date of amendment of PMLA can be prosecuted under the said Act.

This particular deal of Rs 200 crore pertains to a period before 2009.

The court order, according to top sources in Revenue department, has "made it clear and straight" for law enforcement agencies like ED to prosecute any act leading to laundering even if they were committed before June 2009 when PMLA was amended and sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of IPC were included as scheduled offences for invoking the stringent PMLA and nailing the accused for money laundering charges.

"...In essence, the argument that the money alleged to have been acquired will not fall within the definition of "proceeds of crime" because the acts leading to its generation were not among the offences listed out in the schedule, as it stood on the date when these acts were committed. The argument is misconstrued. The reason is that what is being targeted by section 3 (of PMLA) and other provisions of the Act is the "laundering of money" acquired by committing the scheduled crimes and therefore, it would be the date of "laundering" which would be relevant.

"The laundering used in section 3 comprises of involvement in any process or activity by which money is being projected as untainted. Thus, the relevant date is not the date of acquisition of illicit money but the date on which the money is being projected as untainted," the High Court had ruled.

Section 3 of PMLA states that "whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money laundering.

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First Published: Mon, July 29 2013. 16:30 IST