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2023 (5) TMI 444 - HC - PMLA
Money Laundering - proceeds of crime - predicate offence - property purchased from proceeds of crime is attached - whether there is ground for putting the petitioner on trial for offence of money laundering? - HELD THAT:- Organized crime in general and economic offences in particular are not individual act, they are collaborative criminal enterprise of collective of persons, with defined role, who may join at its different stage of its execution. These are species of economic offence, where proceed of crime may run into crores with wide ramification undermining financial institutions and the economic health of the country. Actors involved are skilled and educated, the process of money laundering involves meticulous planning and deft execution in placement, layering and integration of the ill-gotten money in a complex layer of financial transactions to disguise it and project it as untainted. Different players may enter and exit in stages, to bring into fructification the larger design.
In order to curb this, Prevention of Money Laundering Act aims at the persons who may not be involved in the predicate offence, but in laundering the proceeds of crime. The offence of money laundering is a stand alone offence and it is not necessary that the person accused of offence under PMLA should also be charged of the Scheduled offence. It is sufficient that proceed of crime so generated by the commission of scheduled offence, is laundered by the accused for being charged under PMLA. Money laundering is an independent offence has been held in Vijay Madan Lal Choudhary Vs Union of India [2022 (7) TMI 1316 - SUPREME COURT].
After investigation chargesheet has been submitted against the contracting company M/s Classic Coal Construction Pvt. Ltd through its directors Sri Pawan Kumar Singh (father of the petitioner, since dead) and others for causing wrongful loss to the Govt. of Jharkhand and wrongful gain to the Company - Petitioner became a salaried director in the year 2010 and after the death of his father on 27.03.2013 he became the Managing Director and inherited the assets and liabilities of the Company.
The presumption under Section 24 of PML Act can be rebutted only at the stage of trial and not at the stage of framing of charge. Nexus if any, between the properties acquired in the name of this petitioner and the proceeds of crime is a question of fact to be looked into at the stage of trial and not at the stage of discharge.
There are no infirmity in the impugned order - Criminal Revision Petition accordingly stands dismissed.