Out of 354 arrests made under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, only 32 accused persons have been convicted in the last five years, the Centre told Parliament on Tuesday.

Of these, 12 were arrested in the current fiscal year till January 31, four in 2021-’22, one in 2020-’21, seven in 2019-’20 and eight in 2018-’19.

The information was provided by Union Minister of State of Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik in response to a question by Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha.

Bhoumik also said that till December 31, trials in 1,055 cases are pending before special courts across the country.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act was enacted in 2002 to prevent money laundering mainly resulting from the international narcotics and drugs trade. It was amended by the Narendra Modi government in 2019 to make it retrospectively applicable.

The government claims the amendments were necessary to strengthen the Enforcement Directorate’s ability to investigate serious financial crimes. However, the Opposition alleges that they violate personal liberty, procedures of law and the constitutional mandate.

The amendments were challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld them in July.

However, a month later, the Supreme Court held that two aspects of its judgement upholding the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act that gives the Enforcement Directorate unbridled power of summons, raids and arrests need prima facie reconsideration.

These aspects are not providing the accused persons with Enforcement Case Information Reports, or ECIR, and the reversal of the presumption of innocence idea.

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