Punishment for Offenses under PMLA
Section 4 of PMLA prescribes the Punishment for Money-Laundering as under:
Rigorous Imprisonment for a term
- which shall not be less than Three years, but
- which may extend to 7 years/10 years, and
- shall also be liable to fine.
In certain cases, the offences under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 are punishable with rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years. The fine under PMLA is without any limit and the same may be commensurate to the nature and extent of offence committed and the money laundered.
Under Section 19 of PMLA, the appropriate authority under the Act has the power to arrest any person provided that such authority on the basis of the material in his possession has reason to believe that such person has been guilty of any offence punishable under PMLA. After the arrest, the person arrested has to be informed about the grounds for his arrest. It is also required that the person so arrested shall, within 24 hours, be produced before the Judicial Magistrate or a Metropolitan Magistrate, as the case may be, having jurisdiction.
In the case of Madanlal Manekchand Jain Vs. State of Gujarat and Ors. (Criminal Misc. Application (For Regular Bail) No. 22552 of 2015), before the High Court of GUJARAT at AHMEDABAD the validity of Section 45 of the PML Act, 2002 was questioned. The applicant contended that as a special leave petition is pending before the Supreme Court for final hearing, the applicant should be granted interim bail. It was held that the applicant in the above case who has been proven guilty of money laundering which is a cognizable offence as per section 45 of the PML Act, and according to the provisions of the above-mentioned section if an accused is guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment of more than three years under Part A of the Schedule, he shall not be released on bail. It was held that vires of section 45 of the PML Act should be ignored just because a petition is pending before the Supreme Court. The Court cannot ignore the rigors provided under Section 45 of the PML Act only on the ground that some Special Leave Petition is pending for hearing before the Honble Supreme Court and particularly, when no orders whatsoever have been passed by the Honble Supreme Court.