The Supreme Court on Thursday held that the Enforcement Directorate cannot arrest an accused person after the special court has taken cognizance of the complaint.
A bench of justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan also made it clear that if ED requires custody, then the probe agency can move the application before the concerned court and thereafter, the court can only grant custody once satisfied with the reasons that custodial interrogation is required.
The court, while delivering its decision, remarked that if the ED wants custody of the accused who appears after service of summons for conducting further investigation of the same offence, the probe agency will have to seek custody of the accused by moving the application to the Special Court. The Supreme Court also made it clear that the top court may permit custody only if it is satisfied that custodial interrogation is required, even though the accused was never arrested under Section 19 of the PMLA.The court’s decision came while dealing with questions of whether an accused under the provisions of the Prevention Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case has to meet the stringent twin test for bail even in cases where the special court takes cognizance of the chargesheet.
The petitioner Tarsem Lal in the top court has challenged Punjab and Haryana High Court’s December 2023 order, which denied anticipatory bail to him in a money laundering case.
In today’s order the top court also held that the accused who appeared before the court pursuant to the summon wouldn’t be required to apply for bail.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioner, said that at the post complaint without arrest stage, any person already cited as an accused cannot be arrested under Section 19 PMLA.
When an accused appears before the Special Court under the issuance of process vide summons/warrant, any consideration of his application for furnishing bail or bond, whether interim or final, would not be governed by the rigours imposed under Section 45(1)(ii) PMLA as the said person had not been arrested under Section 19 during the course of investigation, he further said. (ANI)