New Delhi: Concerned over "very poor" conviction rate in money-laundering cases, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on Saturday asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to step up and complete probes as early as possible.
"While the investigation has resulted in prosecution complaints being filed, the actual conviction rate is very, very poor. In the entire life of PMLA, just examine how many people have so far been convicted," he said at the Enforcement Day event here.
"It is important not only to finish the investigation, but to take it to the prosecution level and follow it up with courts and see to it that people are convicted. So, conviction is the final result of your entire effort and I am going to monitor it regularly."
Echoing Adhia's point, ED Director Karnail Singh said "it is true that not a single conviction has happened in the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) cases".
He maintained that there is not a single acquittal though, adding that "the cases are pending in courts actually. We are trying our best".
The revenue secretary also expressed concern over inordinate delay in investigations.
"Over a period, I have found that amount of delay in finishing the investigation is inordinate. We must do something about it. So many cases are open. At some stage, cases have to be closed," he said.
Stating that some cases have been dragging on for 7-8 years, Adhia said, "It is not a good idea to keep so many cases open. We should finish investigation as early as possible."
Highlighting the problems faced by ED, Adhia said one of the issues is the shortage of staff and it is being looked at.
The secretary disclosed that the pending issue of risk allowance to ED staff has also been cleared by the government.
Now, an official under the ED would also be eligible for risk allowance as is the case with other government investigative agencies.