‘PMLA is Pradhan Mantri ki Lal Aankh’: Kapil Sibal slams money laundering law | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: In a scathing critique of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal has stirred controversy by claiming that the acronym stands for “Pradhan Mantri ki Lal Ankh” (PM’s glare).
Speaking with ANI, Sibal questioned the efficacy and fairness of the PMLA, asserting that it deviates from its intended purpose of combating money laundering.He argued it empowers the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) to wield unchecked authority, often leading to arbitrary arrests based on oral statements.
“PMLA is Pradhan Mantri ki Lak Aankh. It has nothing to do with Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It means you can send them over to ED who can do whatever they wish to do,” Sibal said.
Sibal elaborated on what he perceives as the flaws in the enforcement process, highlighting instances where individuals can be arrested solely on the basis of unverified oral statements. He criticized the ED’s practice of relying on such statements to detain individuals without concrete evidence, equating it to a form of intimidation and coercion.
Furthermore, Sibal raised concerns about the lack of transparency and due process within the PMLA framework. He cited instances where individuals are arrested without being informed of the accusations against them, exacerbating the opacity of the enforcement mechanism.
“If you want to catch anyone, you can send him over to ED and then take the oral statement of anyone. The person can say anything orally, claiming to whom any random property belongs, and based on his statement, the accused is arrested. The case is then left hanging,” Sibal said.
The veteran politician also shed light on the issue of approvers within PMLA cases, alleging that their testimony often emerges late in the investigative process, raising questions about the credibility and integrity of their statements.
The Senior Advocate also claimed that at times the ED does not even have an “approver”.
An approver is an accomplice who becomes a witness after the court pardons them in exchange for their testimony against someone else.
Sibal also claimed that at times the person who gives the oral statement, at times, turns an “approver” in the case after a series of earlier statements.
“The approver comes only in his twelfth statement. In the initial statements, he did not take any name. He became the approver in his twelfth statement and he gave the money,” the veteran politician said.
Describing the PMLA as a “Frankenstein monster,” Sibal emphasized its role as a tool of governmental coercion rather than genuine law enforcement. He lamented the absence of concrete evidence or money trails in many cases, suggesting that arrests are made solely on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.
“It is a strong arm of the government. It has nothing to do with law enforcement. There is no evidence against (Arvind) Kejriwal, or (Manish) Sisodia or (Satyendar) Jain. There is no money trail. Nobody says how much money is given to whom. There is no bank account or anything. There are just oral statements of people,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Responding to why the courts do not easily grant bail to people arrested under PMLA, Sibal said, “Ask the courts. I keep on asking. I don’t get any response.”
The Opposition has often criticised the Narendra Modi government for abusing central investigating agencies like the ED to target and harass their political opponents.
(With inputs from ANI)


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