The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to furnish the grounds of arrest to the accused in writing at the time of arrest. It further urged the probe agency to maintain stringent standards of probity, fairness and not be vindictive in its functioning, in its judgment uploaded today.
The top court came down heavily on the probe agency for its approach taken in a case regarding arrest of Pankaj Bansal and Basant Bansal in the money laundering case against the real estate group M3M. Criticising the agency and ED for merely reading out the grounds of arrest to the accused, the Court held that such a conduct will not fulfil the mandate of Article 22(1) of the Constitution and Section 19(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, according to a report by LiveLaw.
Declaring the arrest as illegal, the bench said, "It speaks volumes about the ED and reflects poorly on their style of functioning, especially since the agency is charged with preserving the financial security of the country.' The court also termed ED's conduct to be "reeking of arbitrariness" and directed the immediate release of the accused.
The court also made it clear that mere non-cooperation to ED summons is not a ground for arrest under PMLA. The probe agency has to specifically find reason to believe that the accused are guilty of an offence under the guidelines of the Act. "Mere non-cooperation in response to the summons would not be enough to arrest anyone. It is not open to the ED to expect an admission of guilt from the person summoned for interrogation."