BS-IV vehicle scam: ED attaches assets worth Rs 22cr; Ashok Leyland says probe not against it (Ld)

The probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is against a scrap customer and not against Ashok Leyland, said a top company official.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said that it has attached properties worth Rs 22.10 crore of firms in a Prevention of Money Laundering case relating to the BS-IV vehicle scam, and the role of Ashok Leyland was also being probed.

The properties are in the names of firms connected to Diwakar Road Lines and Jatadhara Industries Pvt Ltd. of former Andhra Pradesh TDP MLA J.C. Prabhakar Reddy, and another firm C. Gopal Reddy & Co and family members.

The Supreme Court had in 2017 ordered that vehicles that were not compliant to BS IV emission norms should not be sold in India by any manufacturer or dealer from April 1, 2017, and that the registering authorities were also prohibited.

However, Jatadhara Industries Pvt Ltd (JIPL) and C. Gopal Reddy and Co in contravention to the aforesaid Order purchased BS-III vehicles from Ashok Leyland Ltd at discount and fraudulently registered the same as BS-IV vehicles by fabricating the invoice copies. Investigation revealed that some of the registrations were done in Nagaland, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Responding to a list of questions sent to Ashok Leyland’s Executive Chairman Dheeraj G Hinduja by IANS, the company said: “This matter reported seems to be pertaining to an old investigation from the year 2020 -2021. The investigation is not against Ashok Leyland, but against a third party scrap customer.”

“We have submitted all documents and details as required by the Enforcement Directorate pertaining to this matter, which clearly establishes that we are not implicated in any manner. Ashok Leyland is compliant with all emission requirements,” the company added.

“The ED has gathered evidence in the form of fabricated invoices from RTO authorities in Nagaland and original invoices issued by Ashok Leyland as scrap for some vehicles and established the crime. The crime proceeds generated by owning and selling these vehicles have been quantified as Rs 38.36 crore,” the ED said.

As a result of the investigation and searches, movable properties to the extent of Rs 6.31 crore consisting of bank balances, cash, jewellery and receivables as well as 68 number of immovable properties to the extent of Rs 15.79 crore belonging to accused and their family members have been attached.

Further investigation was in progress, including the role of Ashok Leyland in the entire scam.

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