The ED today again questioned RJD MP Misa Bharti’s husband Shailesh Kumar in connection with a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering case, official sources said. Kumar has been summoned again to seek more information in the case and also to record his statement, they said. He and his wife Misa Bharti, daughter of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, have been grilled in the past too in this case. Kumar, the sources said, will be confronted with the documents seized by the ED till now in the case and the statements given by his wife and other accused, they said. Both Kumar and Misa Bharti are being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for their alleged role in a firm, Ms Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited, their other finances and links with a chartered accountant who was arrested by the agency earlier in the case.
The agency filed a charge sheet in this case before a Delhi court sometime back and it was expected to file a fresh one soon. Misa, it is understood, could also be summoned again. The ED had on July 8 conducted searches at three Delhi farmhouses of Bharti, Kumar and the firm. The agency had attached a farm house in Palam sometime back and it was now probing the alleged slush funds used to purchase this asset by the couple, they said. The latest summons to Kumar are related to a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering probe being conducted by the agency against two Delhi-based businessmen brothers — Surendra Kumar Jain and Virendra Jain, and others, who are alleged to have laundered several crores of rupees using over 90 shell companies.
The Jain brothers were arrested by the ED earlier under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). One of the firms that the arrested duo dealt with was Ms Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited. Bharti and her husband are alleged to have been directors of this firm in the past. According to ED officials, it was found that 1,20,000 shares of M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited were bought during 2007-08 at a rate of Rs 100 per share by four shell companies – M/s Shalini Holdings Limited, M/s Ad- Fin Capital Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, M/s Mani Mala Delhi Properties Pvt. Ltd. and M/s Diamond Vinimay Pvt. Ltd. These 1,20,000 shares, they said, were allegedly bought back by Bharti at Rs 10 per share.
The ED had arrested Rajesh Agarwal, a chartered accountant allegedly linked to Bharti, who provided accommodation entries (black funds) of about Rs 60 lakh to M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited.
The searches, officials said, were part of investigations to unravel these links which allegedly routed black money using the shell companies in question. Shell companies are firms set up with nominal paid up capital, high reserves and surplus on account of receipt of high share premium, investment in unlisted companies and no dividend income or high amount of cash-in-hand. The ED is the third agency probing alleged financial irregularities by the Lalu Prasad family after the CBI and the Income Tax department which recently attached benami assets worth about Rs 180 crore (market value) in its investigation against them. The ED is also probing the Lalu Prasad family in another money laundering case pertaining to his tenure as the railway minister during the UPA-I government and has questioned his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav as part of this separate investigation recently.