By Fiona Mehta
In the last 10 years, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered the highest number of money laundering and foreign exchange (FEMA) violation cases in the 2021-22 financial year at 1,180 and 5,313 complaints respectively, according to government data provided to Parliament on 25th July 2022.
The Centre took pride in the fact that it has carried out more raids and searches of individuals suspected of breaking the 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (c) than the Congress-led UPA administration.
Giving its rationale behind the spike in the number of searches by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the government said this showed its “commitment to preventing money laundering and improved systems for gathering financial intelligence through use of technology, better inter-agency cooperation and exchange of information both domestically and internationally”.
During the financial years between 2012-13 to 2021-22, the federal probe agency filed a total of 3,985 criminal complaints under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and 24,893 under the civil law of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Overall, the minister said, till 31 March 2022, the ED recorded 5,422 cases under the PMLA, attached proceeds of crime of Rs. 1,04,702 crore (approximately), and filed prosecution complaints (charge sheets) in 992 cases resulting in the confiscation of Rs 869.31 crore and conviction of 23 accused.
Similarly, a total of 30,716 cases were filed under FEMA till March 31, 2022, of which 72 per cent were registered in the last eight years. It is pertinent to mention here that after taking up a case for investigation under FEMA, necessary action as per provisions of FEMA is taken which resulted in issuance of 8,109 Show Cause Notices (SCNs). Further, 6,472 SCNs were adjudicated under FEMA, thereby imposing penalty of around Rs 8,130 crore. Further, assets to the tune of Rs 7,080 crore (approx.) have been seized under FEMA.