In country-wide crackdown, ED arrests two, attaches Rs 100 cr properties (Roundup)

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New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Continuing its crackdown on shell companies and money laundering, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested two people and attached properties worth over Rs 100 crore in multiple locations across the country.

The ED arrested G. Dhananjaya Reddy from Bengaluru and K. Liakath Ali from Chennai in separate cases of alleged money laundering. It attached assets worth over Rs 61 crore in the multi-crore synthetic drug racket case in Punjab, while in Chhattisgarh it attached assets worth Rs 36 crore of suspended IAS officer B.L. Agrawal, who is alleged to have laundered money through numerous fake bank accounts.

The agency also attached assets worth Rs 5 crore in connection with the money laundering case against Surat-based “hawala operator” Afroz Fatta and his associates.

Informing about the twin arrests, an ED official told IANS that Reddy had floated more than 20 shell companies and obtained loans through dubious means.

An engineering graduate from Bengaluru, Reddy defrauded United Bank of India of Rs 70 crore by “submitting forged or fake documents and by impersonation”.

Facing three cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), he was sent to two days’ ED custody by a Bengaluru court.

The second accused Liakath Ali — nabbed from Chennai — was involved in cheating Indian Bank, Thousand Lights Branch, Chennai, using eight shell companies and remitted $11,778,120 (Rs 78 crore) out of India, against forged Bill of Entries without effecting any actual imports, said the official.

Ali and his brother Eliyas Peer Mohamed masterminded the fraud by opening fictitious accounts in the names of shell companies like Galaxy Impex, Green International, and Snow City and Company.

The agency attached over Rs 36 crore worth of properties of Agarwal, who was the Principal Secretary (Higher Education) in the Chhattisgarh government, and was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The attached property belongs to Agarwal and Raipur-based Prime Ispat Ltd, a company owned by his brothers.

According to the Directorate, Agarwal laundered money amassed by him through various fake bank accounts.

With “active connivance of bank officials”, Agarwal is alleged to have opened 446 benami bank accounts in the names of villagers in the Union Bank of India, Raipur.

The agency said that the funds were moved from the benami bank accounts to 13 shell companies operated by Agrawal, by way of investment.

The CBI had in 2010 registered cases against Agarwal on charges relating to impersonation, cheating and disproportionate assets. The Chhattisgarh Police, too, had registered a disproportionate assets case against him.

Meanwhile, in the multi-crore rupee drug racket in Punjab, the ED effected attachment of Rs 61.61 crore worth of properties of Amritsar-based businessman Jagjit Singh Chahal and his kin.

The attached properties include showrooms, agriculture land, houses and seven luxury cars.

Probing the money laundering aspect in the scam against several state politicians, the ED so far has attached Rs 95 crore worth of properties.

The agency also attached Rs 5 crore worth of assets belonging to Madanlal Jain, an accused in a money laundering case involving Hawala operator Afroz Fatta.

Through a chain of shell companies, Fatta and his accomplices are alleged to have funneled over Rs 5,000 crore to foreign based companies.

The ED on April 1 conducted nationwide searches at over 100 premises in 16 states against 300 shell companies.

–IANS

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