Power to Arrest under Section 19 of PMLA not unrestricted: DHC

The Delhi High Court (DHC), in a petition for quashing of Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), held that the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) power to arrest under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) is not unrestricted & the ED cannot arrest a person on its whims and fancies. The DHC further pointed a 3-fold requirement that the ED must follow before arresting a person: “Firstly, the Director must entertain a reasonable belief that the person arrested is guilty of an offence under the PMLA, and not under any other enactment; Secondly, the reasons for such belief must be recorded in writing; and Thirdly, such belief must be based on material that is in the Director’s possession.” However, the DHC rejected the petition stating it to be pre-mature.