regular-article-logo Friday, 09 June 2023

Supreme Court to hear plea over ED ‘misuse’

Although the parties refused to share the contents of the petition with the media, a brief note was circulated among some journalists onthe contentions raised before the top court

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 25.03.23, 03:28 AM
Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India File picture

The Supreme Court will on April 5 hear a joint petition moved by the Congress and 13 other political parties that seeks pre-arrest guidelines to prevent the alleged misuse of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate against Opposition politicians and other citizens.

Senior advocate and Congress politician Abhishek Manu Singhvi had during the morning mentioning time made a plea before the bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala for urgentlisting of the petition.


“Today, CBI and ED are being entirely used against us,” Singhvi said.

He said the petitioners did not want to influence the ongoing CBI and ED investigations against Opposition leaders, but urged the court to lay down guidelines for arrest, remand and bail to prevent the government from abusing its power.

Although the parties refused to share the contents of the petition with the media, a brief note was circulated among some journalists on the contentions raised before the top court.

The note said the petition had been moved “in the light of the alarming rise in the use of coercive criminal processes against Opposition political leaders and other citizens exercising their fundamental right to dissent and disagree with the present Union government”. Citing statistics, the petition claims:

■ A clear trend of using ED raids as a tool of harassment, with the action rate on raids i.e. complaints filed pursuant to raids reducing from 93 per cent in 2005-2014 to 29 per cent in 2014-2022.

■ Only 23 convictions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, have been secured till now while the number of cases registered by the ED under the PMLA has risen from 209 in 2013-14 to 981 in 2020-21 and 1,180 in 2021-22.

■ Between 2004 and 2014, only 43 among the 72 political leaders (less than 60 per cent) investigated by the CBI were from the then Opposition. Now, the figure has risen above 95 per cent.

The corresponding figures for the ED are 54 per cent (before 2014) and 95 per cent (after 2014). The political parties that have filed the petition are the Congress, DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Trinamul Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (Uddhav), JMM, Janata Dal United, CPM, CPI, Samajwadi Party and the National Conference.

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