The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested a defence agent in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers deal case.He was arrested by ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In 1999,Indian Air Force had floated a proposal for acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters to ferry top government functionaries.In 2010,the deal was granted to AgustaWestland.
This was followed by allegations that technical specifications had been tweaked just to favor AgustaWestland.One such specification was lowering of the service ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000 m to 4,500 m that helped AgustaWestland qualify and win the bid,for which bribes were allegedly paid.In 2014,India scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland for acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002(PMLA) came into force in 2005.It defines money laundering offence and provides for the freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.The provisions of this act are applicable to all financial institutions like banks,mutual funds, insurance companies and their financial intermediaries.The act was amended thrice,first in 2005,then in 2009 and 2012.
PMLA(Amendment) Act, 2012 has enlarged the definition of money laundering by including activities such as concealment,acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime as criminal activities.
ED is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.It is part of the Department of Revenue,Ministry of Finance.
The prime objective of the Enforcement Directorate is the enforcement of two key Acts- (a)Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA) and (b)Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA).Other objectives are primarily linked to checking money laundering in India.