×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Stop deploying PMLA as a political weapon

Stop deploying PMLA as a political weapon

The Hemant Soren case is a wake-up call. It highlights the urgent need for judicial and legislative scrutiny of the PMLA.

Follow Us :

Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 21:41 IST
Comments

The release of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren from jail, five months after his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), highlights significant concerns regarding the application of this law. The Jharkhand High Court’s observation that there was no prima facie case against Soren underscores the potential for misuse inherent in the PMLA. Soren was charged with forcibly occupying eight acres.

This could be considered illegal land occupation, and it had no evident trail of money laundering. Perhaps this distinction contributed to the court's decision to grant him bail, suggesting that his arrest under PMLA was unfounded. The case raises a crucial question: if a former chief minister can be detained without substantial evidence, what would happen to an ordinary person under similar circumstances?

The PMLA, enacted with the objective of combating serious financial crimes, is being increasingly seen as a draconian law. The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) appears selective, often targeting Opposition-ruled states while ignoring potential cases in BJP-ruled states. This selective enforcement undermines the credibility of the ED, and fuels perceptions of its use as a tool for political vendetta.

The delay in legal proceedings and the apparent arbitrariness in arrests suggest that, in some instances, the process itself becomes the punishment. The lack of accountability for those who misuse this authority is deeply troubling. The PMLA, as it currently stands, grants extensive powers to the ED, which, without proper checks and balances, can misuse it. The government’s standard defence — that it does not interfere in the functioning of the ED — is unconvincing. The perception of the ED as a lapdog of the ruling party erodes public trust in this crucial institution.

It is imperative to reconsider and reform the PMLA to prevent its misuse as an instrument of harassment. Legal safeguards must be strengthened to ensure that the law targets genuine cases of money laundering, and is not weaponised for politics. The Supreme Court should also step in to review the application of the PMLA to ensure that it aligns with the principles of justice and fairness.

The Hemant Soren case is a wake-up call. It highlights the urgent need for judicial and legislative scrutiny of the PMLA. The law should serve its intended purpose of curbing financial crimes, and not become a means of political retribution. It is time for a thorough re-evaluation to protect the rights of individuals and uphold the integrity of our legal system.

ADVERTISEMENT

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT