News-CRUX-10     12th April 2024        
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Context: The Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) recently confirmed the attachment of assets worth Rs 751.9 crore belonging to the Congress party-promoted National Herald newspaper.

Adjudicating Authority Under PMLA

  • About: It appointed by the central government plays a crucial role in confirming provisional attachment orders issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • Validity Period of Attachment Orders: Provisional attachment orders issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director remain valid for a duration of 180 days.
  • Release of Property in Absence of Confirmation: If the provisional attachment order is not confirmed within the stipulated timeframe, the property automatically gets released from attachment.
  • Continued Enjoyment of Property: During the period of provisional attachment, the accused retains the right to enjoy the property until confirmation by the Adjudicating Authority.
  • ED's Power upon Confirmation: Upon confirmation of attachment by the Adjudicating Authority, the ED gains the authority to claim possession of the attached property.

After Confirmation of Attachment by Adjudicating Authority

  • Right to Challenge at PMLA’s Appellate Tribunal: The accused can challenge the Adjudicating Authority’s confirmation order within 45 days at the PMLA’s Appellate Tribunal.
  • Escalation to High Court: If the Appellate Tribunal confirms the order, the accused can escalate the appeal to the High Court.
  • Status of Attached Property: Unless released, the attached property remains inaccessible to the owner until trial completion.
  • Vacating Premises: Upon final confirmation, for residential properties, the ED demands the owner to vacate along with belongings, taking over possession.
  • Confiscation upon Conviction: In case of conviction, trial courts may order confiscation, vesting property rights with the central government.