Observing that the offence of money laundering cannot be treated lightly, the Supreme Court said that it was a more serious and heinous crime than murder as it affected the entire economy whose growth could be put on hold or derailed because of it.
The court is examining the constitutional validity of various provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for allegedly being violative of basic principles of natural justice and criminal jurisprudence.
While hearing a batch of petitions, including those filed by Congress leader Karti Chidambaram and former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, the court said such crime affects the integrity and sovereignty of the country and that was the purpose for bringing the Act.
“The offence of money laundering damages the economy and the financial system of the country. It can put the economy on hold or can derail it. It is more serious than murder. That is why a special Act was framed,” a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar observed when it was pointed out that the procedure prescribed in the Act is against the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act.
The court said that money laundering is not only used for drug trading but also for terrorist activities and such crimes affects integrity and sovereignty of the country.