In a major action against black money hoarders and money launderers, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets to the tune of Rs 9,003 crore and filed 173 charge sheets in the financial year 2014-15.
The agency, as part of its efforts to crack down on illicit funds in India and abroad, in the last year registered a mammoth 400 per cent rise in the numbers of assets attached, over 500 per cent increase in the number of criminal FIRs lodged, over 600 per cent more numbers of arrests made of people suspected to be involved in laundering crimes and more than 200 per cent jump in the filing of prosecution complaints or charge sheets as compared to the 2013-14 fiscal.
The agency which probes financial crimes under two prime laws of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) along with some old cases pending under the repealed Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) has broken all records of lodging complaints and prosecuting the accused of financial frauds, hawala and money laundering.
A report prepared in this regard, also accessed by PTI, has been submitted to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money and the Finance Ministry.
The report states the ED, under PMLA, attached assets to the tune of Rs 9,003.26 crore, registered 1,326 PMLA FIRs, arrested 52 people on laundering charges and filed a total of 173 charge sheets during 2014-15. Also, it issued a total of 492 attachment orders and got 355 confirmed from the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA, the first appellate body against an order issued by the ED authority.
The value of attachment of assets in the last year saw a 407 per cent rise as compared to 1,773.41 crore during 2013-14, over 600 per cent rise in arrests made as compared to seven during the last corresponding period and 214 per cent rise in filing of charge sheets as compared to 55 during 2013-14.
The agency is one of the most important departments on the high-powered panel of the SIT with ED Director Rajan Katoch as its Member.
Acting against hawala and forex violation cases, the agency registered a total of 1,207 cases during 2014-15, a rise of 62 per cent from the 742 such cases registered by it during 2013-14.
The report said the agency is working on as many as 4,776 cases under FEMA at present while it has issued notices to the accused after completing investigations in 1,304 cases.
Penalties worth Rs 1,758.33 crore were also imposed on suspected foreign exchange law violators and hawala operators which is an over two thousand per cent rise from Rs 78.13 crore worth such notices slapped during the comparative period of 2013-14.
The agency also “realised” or obtained Rs 21 crore penalties from those who were charged for the offence within the just finished fiscal, the report said.
With regard to the pending cases under FEAR, the agency filed 2,884 charge sheets in the said period, which is an over three thousand per cent rise from 83 such complaints filed by it in 2013-14.
Sources said the SIT, which is scheduled to file its status report in the Supreme Court on or before May 12, is expected to include these figures in its comprehensive dossier.