ED can’t arrest accused after special court has taken cognisance of complaint: SC

New Delhi May 16: The Supreme Court Thursday held that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) cannot arrest an accused under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after a special court has taken cognisance of the complaint of money laundering.
A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan said when an accused appears before a court in pursuance of a summons, the agency will have to apply to the court concerned to get his custody.
“If the accused appears before the special court by summons (issued by court), it cannot be treated that he is in custody,” it said.
“Accused who appeared before the court pursuant to the summons not required to apply for bail, and thus twin conditions of Section 45 of PMLA not applicable,” the bench said in its judgment.
The twin conditions state that when an accused in a money laundering case applies for bail, the court has to first allow the public prosecutor to be heard and only when it is satisfied that the accused is not guilty and unlikely to commit a similar offence when released, can bail be granted.
The apex court judgment was pronounced on a question of whether an accused in a money laundering case has to meet the stringent twin test for bail even in cases where the special court takes cognisance of the offence.

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