New Delhi, January 31, 2017

Hari Narayan Rai, former Jharkhand minister has been convicted of money-laundering by a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Rai has been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment by a special court, making it the first case of conviction under anti-money laundering laws in the country since the PMLA Act was first enforced about 12 years ago. The court has also slapped Rai with a fine of Rs 50,000.

Rai, the former Tourism, Urban Development and Forests Minister in the Koda cabinet, was convicted by the special court on Monday for laundering funds to the tune of over Rs 3.72 crore. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which had probed the case, said “Rai has been pronounced guilty under section 3, read with section 4, of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and has been sentenced to 7 years RI, the maximum under the said Act and has been additionally fined Rs 5 lakh. The court found him guilty to launder the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 3,72,54,016.”

The case pertains to the regime of Madhu Koda, who was chief minister of Jharkhand for two years. Rai was the tourism, urban development and forests minister in Koda’s cabinet, and had been accused of laundering around Rs 3.72 crore in that position when the scam surfaced in 2009.

A senior official of ED was quoted by PTI as saying about the conviction and the sentencing: “This is a historic judgment as this becomes the first conviction under the PMLA in the country which was enacted in 2002 and implemented from 2005 in order to check and curb black money and grave financial crimes.”

[The Financial Express]