To summarize India’s path to growth and development, we often say that India is the second-fastest growing economy and the largest democracy in the world. However, do we truly believe that? If we remove the numbers and see a visual of India’s road to development, we shall see that since Independence, that road has been dotted with potholes called corruption. Different forms of corruption have left several dents on our road to truly live up to all the titles given to us, the same titles that we use to boast about our country’s economy. The people behind most of these dents are none other than the same people whom we elect to represent us: Politicians.
Source – www.globalriskinsights.com
According to the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer, political parties are perceived to be the most corrupt institutions by Indian citizens. In the history of Indian politics, we have seen several corruption probes being made into several politicians belonging to different political parties. At the center of these corruption probes is money laundering cases.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (2002) was integrated into India’s judicial system to combat such cases of money laundering and to seize or confiscate properties purchased with laundered money. The PMLA was met with several amendments in 2019 by the Central Government to tighten the regulations and provisions in lieu of the increasing number of high-profile cases. Out of all those into whom probes have been made, several are well-known politicians.
Source – www.easethebiz.com
The most recent money laundering case has been filed against Anil Deshmukh, the former Home Minister of Maharashtra. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), under the PMLA, has found that Anil Deshmukh, along with his family members, has laundered unaccounted income of Rs. 29.83 crore between 2005 and 2016.
The ED has alleged that the money laundered has been used to set up and run his side hustles. He was arrested on 2nd November, 2021 and is still in judicial custody. Earlier, in January, 2021, the ED had taken into custody another MLA from Maharashtra: Vivekanand S. Patil. He was allegedly involved in a fraud of over Rs. 500 crores.
Another case that caught a lot of attention was that of Azam Khan’s. The 72-year-old SP MP was brought into questioning by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after 26 FIRs were filed against him by the State police. Along with him, Mukhtar Ansari, gangster-turned-politician, was also brought into questioning by the ED. Ansari has been under ED’s radar in connection with at least 49 criminal cases booked against him including that of murder.
Until August 2021, the ED had submitted a comprehensive list of about 122 sitting and former MLAs and MPs facing money laundering cases under the PMLA. Prominent names in the list include NC’s Farooq Abdullah, RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad, former MP K C Palaniswamy, DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran, former Congress MP Naveen Jindal and several legislators from TMC involved in the Sarada scam. Additionally, 363 sitting and former MLAs and MPs are facing criminal charges.
The numbers are higher in reality because most cases either get dropped because of the influential power of the legislator or they just have the funds to bribe the officials conducting the probe. This forms the picture of the functioning of Indian institutions. All institutions are painted with red tapism, bribery, and fraudulence. While this is not always the case and does not indicate that every judge, every official, every police officer, and every politician is corrupt, it does indicate that these individuals exist in lesser numbers than the corrupt ones.
Source – www.youthkiawaaz.com
Time and again, we see the name of a politician making the headlines of a daily; once in a while they make it for good reasons but most often than not, they make it for reasons such as money laundering, harassment, violence, murder etc. Most columns will most certainly have a statement from that politician blaming it on a rival party with the intention of diverting attention away from the probe being made into them.
When we tend to participate in politics, but from the outside, such blame-games tend to divert our attention from the probe as well; we start looking at the probe as nothing more than “just politics” despite the gravity of the probe being made.
This article is not written with the intention of steering one away from politics, but it is to make one aware that it is our choice that ultimately places immense power in the hands of elected politicians. Therefore, it is our prerogative as a citizen of this country to be more politically aware and educated to make wiser decisions. It is only my hope that in the very near-future that we won’t have to read “gangster-turned-politician” again.
Written by – Prarthana Suresh
Edited by – Riya Shah
The post CAUGHT: Money Laundering Cases among Indian Politicians appeared first on The Economic Transcript.