Rs. 18,000 Crore Returned to Banks from Defaulters

New Delhi: The Centre informed the Supreme Court yesterday that banks got back Rs. 18,000 crore from absconding businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi after proceedings were initiated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

Solicitor General Mr. Tushar Mehta told a three-judge bench led by Justice A M Khanwilkar that 4,700 cases are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and that only 313 people have been arrested for the alleged offences since the enactment of the Act.

He also said orders against coercive action given by various courts had held up as much as Rs 67,000 crore from being recovered.

The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the scope of powers available to the ED under the PMLA for search, seizure, investigation, and attachment of proceeds of crime.

Citing statistics, Mehta said that only a “very small number of cases are being taken up for investigation” in India as compared to countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Austria, Hongkong, Belgium and Russia.

Mehta contended that PMLA has inbuilt provisions to ensure that it is in keeping with constitutional guidelines.