A petition pointing out the lack of transparency in the functioning of the Enforcement Directorate was filed in the Bombay Hugh Court. This plea urged that all ED Case Information Reports and orders that refuse the registration of ECIR should be displayed on the ED’s official website. The petitioner, Advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay stated there was an absence of a communication channel between the ED and the common people. This dissuades people from assisting the agency with information, “when nationalist/ patriotic citizens want to approach ED to provide valuable inputs.”
The plea also stated when an investigating agency registered a “scheduled offence,”, such agency has an obligation to forward such copy of the FIR to the ED. This enables the ED to perform an independent examination. On the basis of this examination, it decided whether ECIR should be registered or not.
This is given under Section 39 of the CrPC,1973 read with Section 176 of the Indian Penal Code, 1806.
Section 39 of the CrPC, 1973 reads as, “ Every person, aware of the commission of, or of the intention of any other person to commit, any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the Indian Penal Code, (45 of 1860 ) shall, in the absence of any reasonable excuse, the burden of proving which excuse shall lie upon the person so aware, forthwith give information to the nearest Magistrate or police officer of such commission or intention.”
Section 176 of the IPC, 1806 reads as, “Omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it.—Whoever, being legally bound to give any notice or to furnish information on any subject to any public servant, as such, intentionally omits to give such notice or to furnish such information in the manner and at the time required by law, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both; or, if the notice or information required to be given respects the commission of an offence, or is required for the purpose of preventing the commission of an offence, or in order to the apprehension of an offender, with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both”.
Advocate Ghanshyam has also urged the Court to direct the adjudication proceedings and orders relating to the attached properties should be highlighted on the ED official website. The petition further reads, “If any citizen is a victim of money laundering, he can very well approach the ordinary criminal court with regard to ‘scheduled offence' but no remedy is provided to him to insist for adding the offence of Money Laundering or to seek attachment of properties of the accused person”.
The plea also stated that all investigation agencies are obligated to display FIR details on the official website. However, the ED is not following this protocol. The plea also further stated that on August 16th, a representation, named “Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad” had approached the ED, referring to submitted letters regarding the Nirav Modi scam.
The plea concluded by stating that, “If ED is created for public good, it is quite necessary that people feel proud about such prime agency and would come whistleblowers blowers, informers, witnesses, etc. with hope and confidence that their contributions would ultimately add to nation’s exchequer and augment the wealth of India by confiscation of every single property that represents “proceeds of crime”, reads the plea.”