Tuesday, November 1, 2022

'Bribe Giver' Is A Party Connected To 'Proceeds Of Crime' ; Can Be Prosecuted Under PMLA : Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court set aside a Madras High Court judgment which quashed PMLA proceedings initiated against a 'bribe giver'.

"By handing over the money to give a bribe, such person will be assisting or will knowingly be a party to an activity connected with the proceeds of crime. Without such active participation on the part of the person concerned, the money would not assume the character of being the proceeds of crime. The relevant expressions from Section 3 of the PML Act are thus wide enough to cover the role played by such a person.", the bench of CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M. Trivedi observed.

Padmanabhan Kishore (A2) allegedly handed over a sum of Rs.50,00,000/- (Rupees fifty lakhs only) to a public servant. An FIR was registered under Section 120B, Indian Penal Code and Sections 7, 12, 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Later, a case was registered by the Enforcement Directorate against the accused including Padmanabhan Kishore under Sections 3 and 4 of the PML Act. Later, the Madras High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the PMLA proceedings against him. According to High Court, the sum of Rs.50,00,000/- as long as it was in the hands of Padmanabhan Kishore (A2) could not have been stated as tainted money because it is not the case of the CBI that he had mobilised Rs.50,00,000/- via criminal activity. The sum of Rs.50,00,000/- became the proceeds of a crime only when Andasu Ravinder (A1) accepted it as a bribe. Even before Andasu Ravinder (A1) could project the sum of Rs.50,00,000/- as untainted money, the CBI intervened and seized the money in the car on 29.08.2011.

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