LS back in business, approves changes in money laundering bill

P Chidambaram

"Parliament has improved upon the law in 2005, after bringing it in 2002, and then again in 2009 and once again in 2012," Chidambaram said.

The proposed amendments also seek to introduce the concept of 'corresponding law' to link the provisions of Indian law with the laws of foreign countries.

Replying to issues raised by members, Chidambaram said blackmoney was a different issue while the money laundering law deals with the proceeds of crime which are defined in the statute. "We need to have a separate discussion on blackmoney," Chidambaram said.

The Minister also said that government was initiating steps to fill vacancies in the Enforcement Directorate to strengthen it to deal with the menace of blackmoney.

The government plans to induct 1,319 additional officers in the Enforcement Directorate to increase the strength to 2,064.

The treasury benches voted out the provisions in the Amendment Bill regarding appointment of sitting or retired judges of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court as Chairman of the Appellate Tribunal to be set up under the Money Laundering law.

The government is finding it difficult to procure services of senior judges, Chidambaram said explaining the reasons behind voting out the clause which was proposed in the Amendment Bill.

He said the appeal against the decision of the Tribunal would be entertained by the High Court and not directly by the Supreme Court.

The Minister explained that offences under the Customs Act would also be covered by the Money Laundering law.

He said this in response to a question whether over-invoicing or under-invoicing would be a punishable offence under the Money Laundering Act.

The Bill also provides for attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime even if there is no conviction so long as it is proved that offence of money laundering has taken place and property in question is involved in money-laundering.

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