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51 former and sitting MPs are being tried under PMLA, SC Told

Fifty-one former and sitting MPs are facing anti-money laundering lawsuits filed by the Enforcement Directorate, the Supreme Court has said.

However, the report does not state how many of the 51 sitting and former Members of Parliament (MPs).

A report filed in the Supreme Court also informed it that 71 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) face charges in cases arising from offenses under the Prevention Act of money laundering, 2002.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who has been appointed amicus curiae in a plea for an expeditious settlement of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs, the Supreme Court said in its report.

The status report also stated that 121 cases filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are pending against MPs and MLAs, including former and sitting members.

The Supreme Court has from time to time issued guidance on lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay’s plea to ensure swift adjudication of cases against lawmakers and prompt investigations by the CBI and other agencies.

The amicus argued that despite a series of Supreme Court directions and regular scrutiny, a large number of criminal cases are pending against MPs and MLAs, many for more than five years.

The apex court had previously asked all high courts to provide details of criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs for more than five years, and the steps taken to deal with them expeditiously.

It also had its order dated August 10, 2021, saying bailiffs, who conduct lawsuits against lawmakers, should not be changed without prior court approval.

On August 10 last year, the Supreme Court had curtailed the power of prosecutors and ruled that they cannot withdraw prosecutions of lawmakers under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) without prior sanctions from high courts.

It had expressed strong displeasure at the Center’s failure to file required status reports and its agencies such as the CBI, and indicated that it would set up a special bench in the top court to oversee criminal cases against politicians.

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