Chennai court convicts city-based importer under PMLA


A special court in Chennai on Wednesday convicted a city-based importer under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 and sentenced him to Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) for seven years and a fine of Rs 1 crore.

In case of default, he will have to undergo RI for one more year, according to a CBI statement. The court also ordered the confiscation of Rs 1,75,49,253 available with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the form of Fixed Deposit, which was provisionally attached by the ED and confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority.

The ED had initiated a money-laundering investigation on March 6, 2017, on the basis of an FIR registered by the Central Crime Branch, Chennai. According to the CBI, the convicted person is a part of a gang operating with complete anonymity in sending the proceeds of crime under the guise of permissible merchandise imports, without making corresponding imports into the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA), by using forged imported documents such as entry bills, as genuine.

The accused made a remittance of USD 2,786,300, equivalent to over Rs 18.66 crore through Indian Bank, Thousand Lights Branch in Chennai and opened a current account in the name of Galaxy Impex by submitting forged identity documents in the assumed name of ‘Waseem Liakath Ali’ without disclosing the beneficiary owner either within the country or outside and end-use in the recipient nation, as per the statement.

The convicted person was arrested on April 3, 2017, and remained incarcerated during trial for a period of 33 months on account of the failure to meet the twin conditions for grant of bail before all judicial forums.

The prosecution complaint was filed on June 9, 2017, and the court framed the charges in December 2019.

The digital evidence collected during the course of the investigation is adduced as admissible evidence.

He was granted bail in January 2020. The investigation in respect of the other six entities is in progress.