ED questions three persons in money laundering case against journalist Upendra Rai

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate on Monday questioned three persons as part of its investigation into a money laundering case against senior journalist Upendra Rai.

Rai was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation on May 3 for dubious transactions of over Rs 100 crore in his bank accounts during 2017-18 and for using false information to obtain access to sensitive areas through Aerodrome Entry Pass (AEP) for all airports in the country.

ED had registered a case against Rai on the basis of CBI’s First Information Report.

“Three persons are being examined by the agency in connection with the case,” an ED official privy to the investigation told IANS. The agency had earlier examined two associates of Rai.

Senior ED officials said they were waiting for the CBI to file the chargesheet in the case so that it can attach the properties of Rai under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

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The officials also said that during joint raids carried out at eight places in Delhi, Noida, Lucknow and Mumbai on May 3 in connection with the case against Rai, they recovered call data records of a senior ED official, an IAS officer earlier posted in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, besides confidential communication between Singapore-based Indian High Commission and a former ED chief.

According to officials, they also recovered income tax assessment orders of various companies and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) generated by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

An ED official requesting anonymity said that the agency had seized a confidential communication between the Indian High Commission in Singapore and former ED Director Rajan Katoch in connection with a case related to industrialist Naveen Jindal.

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The official said that a letter written by Jindal to Katoch in 2015 has also been recovered.

The official further revealed that over 100 STRs generated by the Financial Intelligence Unit to check dubious, black money and terror-financing linked transactions, have also been seized from a pen drive at Rai’s premises.

According to ED officials, the confidential STRs of the 2015-16 are connected to the firms which are being probed by various investigating agencies for money laundering, black money generation and export/import frauds.

The official also said that the agency is now looking at entries in over 14 bank accounts in the name of Rai, his family and three firms linked to him.

The agency is also looking into transactions related to eight luxury cars registered in the name of Rai and his family members.

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According to the financial probe agency officials, three id cards issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) in the name of Rai are being looked into even as he is being probed for allegedly using a fake AEP.

In its case filed on May 1, the CBI had named Rai, aviation firm Air One Aviation Pvt Ltd, its Chief Security Officer Prasun Roy, some unidentified public servants of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and others.

The ED officials also said that they have sent the mobile and other electronic gadgets for forensic examination to get more data about Rai’s links.

–IANS

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