Pavana Dibbur v. Enforcement Directorate, Criminal Appeal NO.2779 OF 2023

Rajita (VMS College of Law)


The case of Pavana Dibbur  v. Enforcement Directorate, Criminal Appeal No. 2779 of 2023 is an example of the legal issues nearby the actions of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India. Pavana Dibbur, who is filing this appeal, objected to the provisions imposed by the ED. The document does not clearly state the specific nature of these measures or the grounds on which Pavan’s appeal is made. However, it may be inferred that this appeal is probably concerned with allegations about procedural improprieties, legal mistakes or constitutional breaches committed by Enforcement Directorate. This outcome has implications for regulatory enforcement practices and individual liberties within its jurisdiction because; depending on how the court decides this matter, this process could affect procedural standards and legal boundaries that govern enforcement agencies whereby both governmental authority and individual protections are then involved. This case underscores why a balance should exist between regulatory oversights as well as protection of rights in individuals subjected to enforcement actions with potential broader implications beyond the facts surrounding this appeal to wider legal and regulatory frameworks.

Keywords: Pavana Dibbur, Enforcement Directorate, Criminal Appeal, Procedural irregularities, Regulatory enforcement.

i)Judgement Cause TitlePavana Dibbru v. The Directorate of Enforcement
ii)Case NumberCriminal Appeal No.27779 OF 2023
iii)Judgement DateNovember 29, 2023
v)QuorumPankaj Mithal, Abhay S.oka
vi)AuthorAbhay S.oka
vii)CitationCriminal Appeal No.2779 of 2023
viii)Legal Provisions InvolvedPrevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Section 3–Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Section 482–Income Declaration Scheme, 2016–Indian Penal Code , 1860, Section 120-B  

The appeal arose out of a complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate under the PMLA in a case titled Pavana Dibbur v. Enforcement Directorate. The issue in dispute here revolves around whether the appellant’s acquisition can be labeled as “proceeds of crime”. It also raises relevant concerns about an individual’s involvement in money laundering without any apparent conviction during the initiation of substantive criminal charges.. Further, this case involves interpretation in relation to scheduled offenses under PMLA, particularly read with Section 120-B of the IPC. The court’s analysis is an important milestone in understanding the PMLA in India as it provides essential insight into the major arguments, judicial interpretations and implications that followed that decision. Remarkably, the appellant emerges victorious in the end.


In the above legal case the respondent Pavana Dibbur v. Enforcement Directorate started by filing a complaint alleging Pavana Dibbur that she has violated the Act under the jurisdiction of Bangalore. The events were as follows: Pavana Dibbur acquired another property from Alliance Business School in 2011 and another property from Madhukar Angur in 2019. Then again, in 2017 Madhukar Angur was sued for obtain by force money from students. It is to the point to note that the appellant held the post of Vice-Chancellor in the University during those years in the middle of 2011 to 2015.

In 2020, the ED begin a instance against Madhukar Angur and others for money laundering. This resulted in the attachment of the assets and in 2021 a complaint was filed against Pavana Dibber under the case, alleging her involvement in Madhukar Angur’s involvement in fraudulent bank accounts through which she funded her universities. Transacted money related to the financial condition of and thereby involves him in activities which are claimed to be illegal.

On March 17, 2022, therefore as a result, the Special Court heard the objection and thus the appellant filed a discharge petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. before the Karnataka High Court. On September 27, 2022 however; The High Court discharge his application to quash the complaint. Presently, the appellant is in appeal against that settlement of the High Court to quash the criminal proceedings begin against her under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2000.


The raised questions are as follows:

  1. Do the appellant’s acquired properties fall within the definition of “proceeds of crime” as per the law?
  2. Can someone be accused of money laundering while not being specifically mentioned in initial criminal charges?
  3. What is the legal position on charging those who are not indicted in the underlying criminal act?
  4. Is there any relevance and validity for a list of scheduled offences stipulated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which is applicable to this case?

Counsel for the appellant advanced several arguments before the Apex Court in response to the case made by the respondent. It was held that none of the two properties in question fall within the definition of “proceeds of crime” under the Prevention of (PMLA). The appellant clarified that the first property was brought to the crime before he scheduled it.

 Secondly, it was claim on behalf of the appellant that in relation to the reply to the police blotter filed by the respondent, in reality no case was made out against the appellant under Section 3 PMLA and more distant, the appellant was also not named as an accused. Was done A person subject to any scheduled offense under PMLA.

Thirdly, it was contended that the offense in respect of which the main charge of conspiracy was framed in the charge sheet related to only one of the four scheduled offenses under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. Essential to the offense was the allegation that the accused had conspired to commit an offense under any of the four specified Scheduled offences, and such a charge under the PMLA would not lie unless so alleged in the charge sheet.


On behalf of the respondent, it was contended that the learned representative of the Enforcement Directorate is now contesting the arguments made by the appellant in the National Court. Also appeared before the Supreme Court as Additional Solicitor General. The first submission is whether the appellant had the financial ability to acquire the second property cannot be determined at this stage . The alleged proceeds of crime were not per se “tainted” but it cannot be denied that they were not used to acquire other property. It should have been seen at the trial stage.

Further, they added that it is now re-settled that if the appellant is in possession of any property involved in the offense under Section 201 IPC, he shall be prosecuted as an offense under Section 3 of the PMLA. Can shall be committed, even if he is not guilty of the original offense caused by the above.

Thirdly, on the appellant’s plea on interpretation of Scheduled Offenses under PMLA, it was submitted that the Scheduled Offenses have to be read as they are and cannot be read to remove or alter them. Counsel contended that there is no warrant to interfere with the contempt order.


The legal provision regarding commission of the offence of money laundering by a person not accused in a ground offense is under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), which reads as under:

“Whosoever right or incidentally attempts to spoil or knowingly assists or deliberately is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, purchase or use and projecting or claiming it as unstained property shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering.” This provision successfully means people can be charged with money laundering even when they have not been an. accused in the original criminal offense that generated the proceeds of crime. It  widen  liability under PMLA to try the accused involved in the laundering of proceeds of crime even when they were not directly involved in the primary criminal activity.


The main dispute being made is that if all the people accused of a crime are found not guilty or if the charges for a specific crime are dissolve, then that crime no longer exists. Therefore, according to this outlook, nobody can bring actin against under Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) because there are no taking from criminal activities. However, the rival view argues that an individual who is accused in a PMLA case and is involved in hiding or using money obtained from criminal activities can still be prosecuted under the PMLA as long as the original crime is still valid. Therefore, the argument that the appellant (the person appealing the case) was not mentioned as an accused in the chargesheets for the original crimes is rejected. Besides, the argument based on the explanation of the Schedule is addressed, stating that there is no claim of a criminal conspiracy for any offense in the organize beyond Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code. Therefore, it is state that the  crime does not exist, and as a result, the appellant cannot be seek redress under Section 3 of the PMLA.


 Ratio is the decisive legal principle or reasoning that the court uses to make its decision. In this particular case, the ratio decidendi is likely to relate to how the court make clear and applies the provisions relating to determined by law under “Proceeds of Crime”. Prevention of (PMLA), and their relationship with Section 120-B of the (IPC). The court’s final decision on these matters forms the main legal basis for its decision.


 The final decision of the Courts in the case of Pavana Dibbur v. Enforcement Directorate has rejected two contentions of the appellant. Emphasizes the importance of the third argument raised by his legal representative. The order provides an interpretation of the term “proceeds of crime” and lists specific offenses under the Prevention of (PMLA) in relation to Section 120(B) of  (IPC). This in-depth examination not only clarifies the  appellant’s position but also represents a significant advance in understanding how the specified offense and criminal conspiracy are linked within the money laundering law. This judgment marks a development in shaping the changing landscape of jurisprudence on PMLA.


Important Cases Referred
  • 1


Important Statutes Referred
  1. Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
  • Indian Penal Code,1860

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