The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached 30 kg gold bars worth Rs 8.56 crore in connection with its probe into a money laundering case against Tamil Nadu sand mining baron J Sekhar Reddy and his associates, registered post demonetisation. The ED, in March this year, had arrested Reddy and his two alleged associates K Sreenivasulu and P Kumar in this case. The agency’s zonal office here issued a provisional attachment order “attaching 30 kg of gold bars worth Rs 8,56,99,350 of Reddy and his associates in connection with the exchange of old notes to new currency notes under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” the Enforcement Directorate said in a statement. “On reasonable belief that the gold bars are part of proceeds of crime, the same were provisionally attached,” it said.
The ED had earlier attached assets worth Rs 34 crore in this case. Reddy was earlier arrested by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) too in the same case of alleged black money generation post demonetisation. The ED had filed a criminal complaint against Reddy and others based on a CBI FIR in the case which was registered after the I-T department first searched his premises and those of his associates in November last year. The I-T department has made one of the biggest detection of alleged unaccounted income of over Rs 142 crore in this case with the seizure of Rs 34 crore in new notes, Rs 97 crore in old currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 and gold bars weighing 177 kg, post demonetisation. The ED said the gold bars were “recovered and seized by the Income Tax Department from the residential premises of Prem Kumar.
“Prem Kumar has stated that he used to receive money from Srinivasulu, associate of Reddy, for purchase of 1 kg gold bars and the said seized 30 kg gold bars from his residence was purchased accordingly using the demonetised currency and belongs to Reddy,” the central probe agency said.
The Reddy case and the other involving Delhi-based lawyer Rohit Tandon are being probed by at least four agencies–the ED, the Income Tax department, the CBI and Delhi Police–and are considered the two most high-profile black money cases being investigated in the aftermath of the notes ban.