February 02, 2018
The Government of India under the aegis of Ministry of Finance yesterday introduced the Bill to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) through the Finance Act, 2018.
The proposed amendments aim at enhancing the effectiveness and widen the scope of Money Laundering Act.
Key amendments proposed in the Bill are as under:
- Amendment of definition of “proceeds of crime”: The definition of “proceeds of crime” has been amended to allow to proceed against property equivalent to proceeds to crime held outside the country also.
- Amendment in bail provisions: Proposed amendment would make the applicability of bail conditions uniform to all the offences under PMLA, instead of only those offences under the schedule which are liable to imprisonment of more than 3 years.
- Corporate frauds included as Scheduled offence: Section 447 of Companies Act providing for corporate frauds has been included as scheduled offence under PMLA.
- Measures to enhance effectiveness of investigations- The Bill proposes measures to enhance the effectiveness of investigations. For instance, Section 5(1) of PMLA provides that every order of provisional attachment passed by an officer of Enforcement Directorate shall cease to have effect after 180 days from the date of the provisional attachment order, unless confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority under PMLA within that period. The section is proposed to be amended to include the period of stay in this time limit of 180 days and also further period of not more than 30 days to take care of delays if any in communication of judicial orders.
- Measures for restoration of property of persons adversely affected by PMLA investigation– The existing provisions allow distribution of confiscated property to the rightful claimants, only after the trial is complete. Present amendment allows Special Court, to consider the claims of the claimants for the purposes of restoration of such properties even during trial also, in the prescribed manner.