The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested a chartered accountant (CA) in connection with its probe into a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket involving two Delhi-based brothers. The CA, Rajesh Agarwal, has been arrested under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and will be produced in court today, officials said.
Agarwal was allegedly instrumental in providing accommodation entries to many high-profile people to help launder their funds. These included those being probed by the Income Tax Department in the Rs 1,000 crore dubious land deals case allegedly linked to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s family, they said.
The CA, officials said, was also allegedly involved in routing funds for the Jain brothers, Virendra and Surendra, arrested by the ED in a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket allegedly being run through shell firms.
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Agarwal would be questioned in detail about all such deals and people linked to him once the agency gets his custody, an official said.
The ED had last week filed a chargesheet against the Jain brothers. It had also attached agricultural land worth Rs 1.12 crore belonging to them in Bhatti village in the National Capital Region.
With this, the total amount of property attached so far in the case amounts to Rs 65.82 crore.
The ED has identified at least 90 shell firms in this probe case. It has identified 26 of them for allegedly laundering about Rs 62.20 crore.
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 case emerged after the ED filed a criminal complaint in February this year under the PMLA. It was based on a chargesheet filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office against certain individuals and firms “for providing accommodation entries by accepting funds from their beneficiaries through mediators and converting the same into share premium transactions in the beneficiary company”.
The ED suspects the entire racket to be worth about Rs 8,000 crore of slush funds.