The mainstream media in New Delhi is currently speculating on the impact of new and tighter anti-money laundering legislation currently before the Rajya Sabha.
The Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal submitted a Bill to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act this week.
Money changers, money transfer service providers such as Western Union and credit card payment gateways like Visa and MasterCard will now come under the ambit of India's anti-money laundering laws once the bill is approved, and the media point to the gambling industry as one of those most likely to come under increased scrutiny, with obligations to provide reports on financial activity.
The measures follow an international trend to tighten up on the monitoring of money flows in attempts to restrict the opportunities of terrorist organisations and organised crime to move money around internationally and/or launder ill-gotten gains. Terrorism is apparently specifically addressed in the new legislation, which introduces a new category of offences which have cross-border implications.
The draft legislation empowers the Enforcement Directorate "...to search premises immediately after the offence is committed" and/or attach any property and search any person in the course of investigations. The period of provisional attachment of property during an investigation is increased from 90 days to 150 days.