The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested three food mafias — Sampat Namdeo Ghorpade, Arun Namdeo Ghorpade and Vishwas Namdeo Ghorpade — in connection with its probe into a money laundering case under the sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED had registered a case on the basis of an FIR lodged by Nashik Police against the trio. The police had already filed a chargesheet under the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999.
An ED official said that all the three accused gained illicit pecuniary advantage from the public distribution system (PDS) by forming an organised crime syndicate and started black marketing the government quota of ration grain in Nashik.
The official said that during its probe, it was revealed that they had indulged in unlawful activities both as individuals and as a gang. “The proceeds of the crime generated by these illegal activities amounted to around Rs 177 crore,” the official said.
The official added that Sampat was the head of the criminal syndicate which was also involved in stealing government quota of food grain which is also known as ration that used to be kept reserved for the poor strata of the society to be used in schemes like Antyodaya Yojna, Anganwadi, PDS etc.
“All the three accused persons had systematically executed this criminal activity with the help of other unknown accomplices and there by generated the proceeds of crime of around Rs 177 crore,” the official said.
The official said that they were produced before a court on Thursday which sent them to ED custody for eight days.