The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested former Unitech Group promoters Ajay Chandra and Sanjay Chandra in a money laundering case.
The federal agency is to produce the Chandra brothers before a special court here on Tuesday and to seek their custodial remand. The arrests were made after the ED obtained the Supreme Court’s permission to carry out custodial interrogation of Chandras on basis of new evidence.
The ED is learnt to have gathered new evidence against Chandra brothers and it wants to confront both of them for which it needs their custodial interrogation. The Chandra brothers were earlier lodged in a Mumbai jail. On Monday, they were shifted to a Delhi jail and placed under arrest this morning.
The anti-money laundering agency in August this year had submitted a report in the Supreme Court against Chandra brothers of running an “underground office” while still being lodged in Tihar Jail. It was also alleged that Tihar Jail officials were helping Chandra brothers in running office from inside of jail.
This matter had reached to Supreme Court. After a long hearing, the apex court had directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to look into the matter. The apex court had asked to take action if they were found guilty. Following the apex court’s order, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana had formed a committee to look into the matter.
The Delhi Police Commissioner had prepared a report which alleged that around 36 jail officials were allegedly helping Chandra brothers. In October this year, a Delhi court had sent three persons, including former Unitech group promoter Sanjay Chandra’s wife Preeti Chandra and his father Ramesh Chandra, to ED custody in connection with a money-laundering case.
In November, the ED attached assets having total book value Rs 18.14 crore belonging to two benami entities of Chandra brothers. The ED initiated money-laundering investigation on the basis of various FIRs filed by homebuyers against Unitech Group and its promoters by Delhi Police and Central Bureau of Investigation.
“Total Proceeds of Crime detected by the ED in this case is Rs 7,638.43 crore,” ED said earlier. Investigation by the ED revealed that these two benami entities were managed by Chandras through their close confidants and the assets attached were acquired and created from the proceeds of crime diverted from Unitech Group.
Three persons have been arrested in this case. The matter pertains to a criminal case which started initially by one complaint lodged in 2015 and later joined by 173 other home buyers of Unitech projects’ — ‘Wild Flower Country’ and ‘Anthea Project’ — situated in Gurugram. On January 20 last year, in a respite to over 11,000 hassled home buyers of Unitech, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre to take total management control of the realty firm and appoint a new board of nominee directors.
The apex court had approved the name of retired Haryana cadre IAS officer Yudvir Singh Malik as chairman and managing director (CMD) of the new board and directed that the existing board of directors of the company would stand superseded. In 2018, the top court had directed a forensic audit of Unitech Ltd and its sister concerns and subsidiaries by Samir Paranjpe, Partner, Forensic and Investigation Services in Grant Thornton India.
The forensic auditors had submitted their report which said that Unitech Ltd received around Rs 14,270 crore from 29,800 home buyers from 2006-2014 and around Rs1,805 crore from six financial institutions for the construction of 74 projects.