With five high profile cases involving political leaders, the ED has never been this busy in Kerala
The sensational case of gold smuggling through diplomatic channel has made ED knock on the doors of CM’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar and Minister K T Jaleel among other leaders.
KOCHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has never been this busy in the state in the recent past. The agency is currently pursuing five high profile cases in which political leaders from different parties are involved.
While the sensational case of gold smuggling through diplomatic channel has made ED knock on the doors of Chief Minister’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar and Minister K T Jaleel, former PWD Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju, MLA K M Shaji and Congress leader Aryadan Shoukath are facing ED’s probe in connection with different economic offences.
Even Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of CPM Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is facing a probe by the Bengaluru unit of the ED for his alleged links to an accused in a narcotic racket busted by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).Experts say ED is one such agency that can really go after one if it finds any evidence connecting the person to a violation of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“The PMLA gives the agency the power to knock on the doors of any person irrespective of post, power or occupation. The ED unit in Kerala has been busy of late because of many recent developments. The PMLA too grants power to attach properties of the accused,” said Former ED Deputy Director V Praveen.
Former Director General of Prosecution (DGP) T Asaf Ali said the ED is the most powerful agency when it comes to probing economic offences.
“Though ED has probed other cases in Kerala, this is for the time that the agency is probing a series of cases involving high-profile persons. The amendments to PMLA in 2009 and 2013 gave the ED immense powers to probe money laundering. In fact, the agency is more powerful than state police when it comes to conducting searches, arresting accused and collecting statements,” he said, adding that ED is the only agency in the country that can present a statement of an accused as evidence in the court. “Under Section 22 of PMLA, any property or records seized from any person shall be presumed that such a person is the owner of such property or records. This gives ED far reaching powers when it comes to presenting evidence against the accused.