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VVIP chopper deal: ED attaches assets of ex-IAF chief’s family in money laundering probe

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached five expensive flats in and around the national capital in the name of cousins of former IAF chief SP Tyagi in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers deal.

The agency, in its order issued against the Tyagi brothers– Sanjeev, Sandeep and Rajeev, said its investigations found that the “proceeds of crime” of this deal were allegedly used by them in the acquisition of these properties which have now been seized under law.

Representational image.

Representational image.

“Following painstaking investigations, five immovable properties of Tyagi brothers worth Rs 6.20 crore have been provisionally attached,” the ED said in a statement in New Delhi.

The attached assets include a flat in phase-V in Gurgaon, two others in Sector-50 of Noida, one such property in the upmarket KG Marg area of Delhi and a 5th-floor flat in a business centre in Kaushambi in adjoining Ghaziabad.

Sources said the stated value of these posh dwellings is just the book price and the actual market value could be many times more than this amount.

The agency had registered a criminal case in this deal in 2014 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and has said that about Rs 423 crore (58 million Euro) was allegedly paid by European businessmen Christian Michel, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland in UK, a subsidiary of Ms Finmeccanica, Italy.

The deal, which was scrapped by the government following allegations of corruption, was inked to purchase 12 advanced helicopters for use by Indian VVIPs and the procurement amount was Rs 3,600 crore.

The agency alleged that a bribe money of 10.50 lakh Euro (about Rs 7.68 crore) was paid by the alleged middlemen to Tyagi brothers in two tranches, first by way of bank transfer and then in cash.

The investigation, the ED said, revealed that “out of the aforesaid kickbacks, payment of Euro 10,50,000 was made to Sanjeev Tyagi, Sandeep Tyagi and Rajeev Tyagi and their companies by Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa through their companies Ms Gordian Services Sarl, Tunisia and Ms IDS Tunisia.

“The payment of Euro 4,05,625 (about to Rs 2.49 cr) to Tyagi brothers was made through the banking channel between 2004-2011 and remaining payment of Euro 6,44,975 (equivalent to about Rs 4.50 cr) was made in cash during April-December 2011 following signing of contract on February 2, 2010 for supply of 12 VVIP helicopters,” it said.

While the former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief has denied any wrongdoing by him or his family members in connection with the deal, the ED has already questioned Sanjeev in the case and it is expected that the former IAF boss too will soon be summoned for recording his statement under PMLA.

An attachment order, under money laundering laws, is a stringent action undertaken by the central probe agency to deprive the accused from taking benefits of their ill-gotten assets and the same can be challenged before the Adjudicating Authority of the Act within a period of 180 days.

The agency has earlier attached assets worth Rs 1.12 crore of a foreign middleman in the same case.

The agency has booked Tyagi, his family members, Gerosa, Michel and Haschke, six companies— AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix and one each based in Mauritius and Tunisia, and unknown persons in its criminal complaint under PMLA.


ED Director Rajan S Katoch removed from service

The Enforcement Directorate Director Rajan S Katoch was removed from service on Wednesday, according to reports.

Rajan S Katoch. Image courtesy:

Rajan S Katoch. Image courtesy:

CNN-IBN reported that Katoch was sacked after he chose to close the National Herald case.

Senior IPS officer Karnal Singh was given additional charge as chief of ED, according to PTI.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved assigning the additional charge of the post of Enforcement Director to Singh, a 1984 batch IPS officer of union territories cadre, for a period of three months, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training said.

Singh is now working as Special Director, Centre Region in ED, under the Department of Revenue.

On 3 August, ACC had extended the charge of ED Director, held by Heavy Industries Secretary Rajan S Katoch, for three months beyond 31 July but it has now been curtailed.

That was the third extension given to Katoch, a 1979-batch IAS officer.

Katoch was handling the top ED charge in an additional capacity since August 2014 after he was promoted and appointed as the Heavy Industries Secretary.

Upon his elevation, he was asked to hold ED Director’s charge till January, 2015 after which he was given an extension to continue in the post till 30 April.

ACC again issued an order and extended his stint in the agency till July, 2015.

An IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, Katoch had been heading ED for about three and half years after he was first appointed in March 2012.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking appointment of a full-time Director for the central probe agency.

ED is mandated to enforce two of the most stringent laws in the country – Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to check black money and hawala trade cases.


ED issues summons to Lalit Modi in connection with money laundering case

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to ex-IPL boss Lalit Modi in connection with an alleged money-laundering case registered against him in Mumbai.

ED issued summons to Lalit Modi. Reuters

ED issued summons to Lalit Modi. Reuters

“Summons were issued last week to Modi through his attorney, who appeared before us for an adjudicatory hearing,” an ED source said.

According to the source, Modi has been asked to appear in three weeks.

Earlier last week, the agency also recorded the statement of former BCCI chief N Shrinivasan.

The case relates to a 2008 deal between World Sports Group (WSG) and Multi Screen Media (MSM) for television rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) worth Rs 425 crore.

BCCI, through Shrinivasan, filed an FIR in Chennai in 2010 under various provisions of the IPC, while two years later, the ED registered a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the matter.

In 2008, the BCCI awarded 10-year media rights to WSG for USD 918 million. In the same year, WSG entered into a deal with MSM to make Sony the official broadcaster. The contract was replaced a year later with a nine-year deal where MSM paid USD 1.63 billion.

The ED started a probe in 2009 under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to investigate allegations that payment of Rs 425 crore facilitation fees by MSM Singapore to WSG Mauritius was made in an illegal way.

The payments were made to “unauthorised beneficiaries” and not the cricketing regulating bodies as per the terms of the contract, ED said.


IPL betting case: ED conducts searches at multiple locations in Delhi, Gurgaon

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday conducted searches at multiple locations in and around Delhi in connection with its hawala and money laundering probe against some betting syndicates related to the latest IPL T-20 cricket matches.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Sources said about four locations in Delhi and neighbouring Gurgaon were covered during the searches which are being conducted by the Ahmedabad office of the agency in coordination with their counterparts in New Delhi.

“The sleuths seized over hundred cell phones, hard drives, laptops, other computer peripherals and documents during the operation,” the sources said, adding two suspects were also questioned.

They added the searches were “conducted on some suspects who acted as bookies during the recent Indian Premier League matches” held in the county.

“The probe is being handled by the ED Ahmedabad office which is investigating the case for hawala and money laundering charges,” the sources said.

Some locations in Mumbai and Bangalore were also searched as part of today’s operation, they said, adding the action was largely centralised in the national capital and its adjoining areas.

On 19 March this year, the Ahmedabad office of the agency had claimed to have busted the alleged betting racket and arrested some bookies from a farmhouse on the outskirts of Vadodara city in Gujarat.

Later, the probe agency arrested 13 others in connection with this illegal activity.

On 26 March, the same office registered a money laundering case against two prime suspects and a few others in the Rs 4,000 crore alleged IPL betting racket.

The accused had been charged under Section 418 (cheating), Section 419 (punishment for cheating), Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), Section 467 (forgery of valuable security), Section 471 (using forged document as genuine) along with Section 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code by the agency.

Locations in Delhi’s Karol Bagh, Shastri Nagar and Gurgaon were searched in the day-long action, they said.


VVIP chopper deal case: ED issues summons to two former IAF officers

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to two former Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

Officials said that two retired officials — an Air Marshal and a Group Captain — have been allegedly found to have been associated with European national Christian Michel — the alleged middleman in this case — vis-a-vis some monetary transactions.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

ED sources said that the agency has tracked purported payments, running into lakhs, made by Michel to these officials as “personal unexplained payments”, which includes reimbursements made in connection with foreign travels.

“They (ex-IAF officials) have been asked to join investigations and explain their connection with Michel that the agency has detected,” sources said.

They said that the two officers were operating a private aviation and air defence consultancy firm and hence were in touch with Michel and other suspected middlemen and businessmen working in the international aviation domain.

ED, which has registered a criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe alleged financial violations in the deal for the 12 VVIP choppers, is also set to attach the assets of Michel which it detected under a “benami” category in Delhi.

Michel’s assets, including a posh flat in the Safdarjung Enclave area, was purchased by a Delhi-based travel businessman, but the purchase was allegedly funded by the European businessman.

The agency arrested businessman-lawyer Gautam Khaitan in this case last year and he is currently out on bail after ED filed its first charge sheet in the case.


Saradha scam: Sudipta bought sick units to turn black money into white, says ED

Sudipta Sen, the chief architect of over Rs 2,000 crore Saradha chit fund scam, parked hard earned investor funds into loss making companies to convert huge black money into white, a probe report has revealed.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the chitfund scam under anti-money laundering laws, has detected it was a “common practise” deployed by Sudipta to channel the criminal proceeds of the scam into loss making companies so as to “distance the original tainted source from the money generated by the companies (Saradha firms which collected money from investors).”

“It appears that the investments in these properties (sick units) are shown only for regularising the crime proceeds as mobilised by the four companies of the Saradha group in cash, which actually is the placement of the crime proceeds,” a probe report filed by the agency in a court said.

Sudipta Sen. AFP.Sudipta Sen. AFP.

Sudipta Sen. AFP.

“It is seen from the investigation that it was a common practise of Sudipta Sen to acquire a number of flats in different parts of West Bengal as well as in other states (Delhi, Odisha, and Assam) in the name of Saradha Realty India Limited.

“These investments were done on behalf of the company (Saradha Realty) but were ultimately enjoyed by Sudipta personally. This clearly appears the laundering of the public money mobilised from the common masses on the false promise of lucrative returns,” the report, accessed by PTI, said.

The ED probe found a “considerable part” of every purchased asset, movable or immovable, was further paid in cash to many of the sellers of the properties for “evading the stamp duties and for other reasons best known to Sudipta.”

“Thus, it can be presumed that in cases where a part payment has been made initially and no further payment has been made for a long interval, payments could have been made in cash,” the agency said after close to two years of its investigation in the case, indicating the method of generation of black money in the scam.

ED, on the basis of various police FIRs filed by states like West Bengal, Assam, and Odisha, had registered a criminal case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in 2013 and it has attached assets worth over Rs 700 crore in this case till now.

The agency said all criminal proceeds of the scam, after cheating numerous gullible investors of their hard earned deposits, were mostly mobilised by four Saradha firms– Saradha Realty India Limited, Saradha Tours and Travel Private Limited, Saradha Garden Resort and Hotels Private Limited, and Saradha Housing Private Limited.

The firms, the agency said, were “engaged in mobilising the money from public on false promises of high interest which is not possible.”

“It has been detected, the probe report said, that “the money mobilised by Saradha Realty India Limited and Saradha Tours and Travel Pvt Ltd have been paid into the resorts, flats, companies among others… so as to distance the crime proceeds by mixing the same with the incomes of the companies.”

The agency has cited examples in its report to prove that Sudipta was purchasing sick companies to hide his black money and also to convert illicit funds into white or clean money. “It could be seen in the case of Ms Bengal Awadhoot Agro Pvt Ltd, Land Mark Cements, Aranya View Resort, Ms Amma Dairy etc that either the companies earlier ran in losses or they were having huge bank liabilities.

“For the placement of the money, Sudipta acquired a common practise of purchasing them by meeting the bank liabilities as well as paying them an additional sum besides that to acquire total controlling stake in the company. It is as the method adopted by Sudipta that he used to wield the sway over the company/ies (sick unit),” the agency said.

The ED which has questioned Sudipta and numerous other politicians and Members of Parliament in this scam probe is expected to soon file a comprehensive charge sheet soon, after the CBI recently did so.


Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma denied pre-arrest bail

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Saradha scam: ED freezes Matang Sinh’s properties worth over Rs 90 crores

New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate on Friday froze three prime properties worth over Rs 90 crore of former Union minister Matang Sinh in connection with its probe in the Saradha scam for alleged violation of money laundering law.

ED froze Matang Sinh’s properties. PTI

The action of ED came late evening. The three flats – two in posh localities here and an entire apartment building in Noida in which he purportedly owns multiple flats – are estimated to be over Rs 90 crore.

The sources said one of the flats is in Doctor Lane in Gol Market area which is a stone’s throw from Connaught Place.

They said these properties will soon be attached for alleged violation of PMLA.

The agency has earlier issued similar orders against the former Union minister for his immovable properties in Assam and West Bengal.

Sinh, who was arrested by the Special Investigation Team of CBI in Kolkata, was charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation of funds related to Saradha Realty, one of the companies of the group which is being probed by the agency, CBI sources said.

also see

Saradha scam: TMC MP Srinjoy Bose released on conditional bail

Saradha scam: Matang Sinh released from hospital, sent back to jail

Saradha scam: CBI asks Mukul Roy to appear on 28 January

The former Congress MP had allegedly been using the name of the senior bureaucrat to get deals settled and getting work done, they said.

They said now his questioning may throw some links with the senior bureaucrat who has resigned after the controversy.

CBI has already charge sheeted Sinh in a loan default case in February 2013 where he allegedly did not repay Rs 67 crore loan taken from Canara Bank for floating M-3 Channel.