The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Chhattisgarh to withdraw its petition challenging the legality of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
A Division Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S.V.N. Bhatti allowed the State to bow out.
The State’s withdrawal comes a day after Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul informed in open court that the Supreme Court has constituted a special three-judge Bench to review a July 2022 judgment which upheld amendments introduced in the PMLA which gave the Enforcement Directorate (ED) wide powers to arrest and summon individuals and raid private property.
Justice Khanna is a member of the Special Bench, which would also comprise Justice Bela M. Trivedi. The Bench would be headed by Justice Kaul.
In its writ petition, Chhattisgarh has highlighted similar grievances, contending that the PMLA was used to “intimidate, harass and disturb” the normal functioning of the non-BJP State government.
In fact, the top court had in the Chhattisgarh case cautioned the ED against creating an “atmosphere of fear” after the State had accused the central agency of trying to “implicate” Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in a money laundering case linked to a ₹ 2,000-crore liquor scam.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Chhattisgarh in an earlier hearing, had submitted in court that over 50 Excise Department officials in the State had complained about threats and “mental and physical torture” from the ED during the course of investigation.