The Enforcement Directorate today attached pricey hotels, luxury cars like Audi and Jaguar, bungalows and other assets worth over Rs 50 crore over its probe in two separate money laundering cases of alleged defrauding of banks. In the first instance, the central probe agency issued orders for the provisional attachment of a hotel each in Surat and Bharuch, offices in Surat, Navi Mumbai, Pune and Bharuch, flats in Udaipur, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Surat and Thane, expensive cars like Audi Q7 and A4, Jaguar and BMW and bank balances to the tune of Rs 2.77 crore in the name of Ms Siddhi Vinayak Logistic Limited (SVLL).
The company is “promoted” by Surat-based businessman Rupchand Baid, arrested by the ED in April this year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), for his alleged role in “aiding and laundering of tainted money in the Bank of Maharashtra loan fraud case” to the tune of Rs 836.29 crore. “The investigation revealed that the loan amount of Rs 836.29 crore was disbursed for the purchase of vehicles to various companies on the directions of Baid to the bank authorities for a scheme called ‘Chalak se Malik’ (driver to owner) for drivers by Baid.
“After disbursement of the loan to these companies, the loan money was circulated through chain of group associate companies through a series of unsecured loan and fraudulent transactions,” the ED had earlier said while describing the role of Baid in this alleged bank fraud case. The total worth of the attached assets in this case is Rs 19.62 crore, the agency said in a statement. The ED had said Baid is the alleged “mastermind” in this case where money laundering was perpetrated by embezzlement of bank loans which was obtained using forged documents.
In the second case where attachment of assets was done under the PMLA law, the agency issued orders for freezing of land properties in Goa, hotel China Town and an office in the market place of Karol Bagh area in Delhi, residential premises at few posh locations of the national capital and some high end cars of businessman Manmohan Singh Sehgal and his son Gagandeep Singh Sehgal, the ED said. The two arw being investigated by the ED in the Rs 6,000 crore Bank of Baroda money laundering case. The father-son duo was arrested by it in March this year.
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“In the ongoing investigation into fraudulent remittances sent through the front companies having account with BoB, it was revealed that Manmohan Singh Sehgal and his sons have invested huge money in creating assets in order to launder money.
“The ED has, therefore, provisionally attached movable and immovable properties having estimated value of Rs 31 crore (approx) belonging to Manmohan Singh Sehgal and his son Gagandeep Singh Sehgal found to be involved in the offence of money laundering,” the agency said.
The BoB PMLA case had come to light last year and is being probed both by the ED and the CBI. At least six people have been arrested by the ED in this case till now. The ED had earlier termed this case to be an incident of trade-based money laundering, where accused traders evaded Custom duties and taxes to generate slush funds.