Enforcement Directorate chief Karnal Singh on Saturday requested the government “empower” his agency to register and pursue cases independently even after courts quash any of them registered initially by other investigating authority.
In his address at an event marking the Enforcement Directorate Day here where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was the chief guest along with Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, he said the agency is facing the problem continuously and “it should be changed” considering its investigating methods under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
“The ED should be given independent power to register and pursue any case. It is in a three-legged race. Courts feel if any case initially registered by any investigation agency is thrown out, the ED case will automatically fail,” he said.
Singh said the Enforcement Directorate can file a case only on the basis of FIRs registered by other agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) and does not have the power to take up an anti-money laundering investigation independently.
Giving example of Aircel-Maxis 2G spectrum case, he said they had to appeal against the recent order of a court which declared this case invalid and “groundless” for their probe was on the basis of CBI inquiry that had filed an FIR in it initially.
His remarks comes against the backdrop of a court’s recent order discharging the Maran brothers, Dayanidhi and Kalanithi in the Aircel-Maxis 2G spectrum case and arms dealer Abhishek Verma in a separate CBI cases, based on which the ED had registered criminal cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Calling such developments as “bottle necks” in the agency effort to curb the menace of black money and corruption, Singh said that the “understanding of law sometimes creates problems”.
“Our legs are tied with the scheduled agency (CBI in these cases). It is like in sports where we have the three-legged race…our one leg is tied with them (scheduled agencies like police or CBI) and many courts feel that the other case fails, then the ED case automatically fails.
“We have gone (in appeal) to the Supreme Court in such a case for a decision,” the ED chief said.
He said that the rules of game are different in their investigation and the ED investigation.