New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs 7.63 crore of the prime accused in the Rs 5,395 crore Surat hawala money laundering case.
The agency said it has attached fixed deposits of businessman Madanlal Jain in connection with the case that also involves an alleged associate.
The ED had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) acting on the FIR of the Crime Branch of the Surat Police in 2014.
Attached assets of Jain include immovable properties, namely 15 plots admeasuring 3,848.93 sq. metres worth Rs 4.80 crore located in Surat, held in the name of Rivertouch Resorts Pvt. Ltd, a company controlled by him.
The ED also said that it has attached the bank balances totalling Rs 2.83 crore of Jain with Canara Bank in Mumbai.
During investigation, it was revealed that amounts totalling Rs 5,395.75 crore were remitted to companies in UAE and Hong Kong on the basis of forged bills of entry through the accounts of nine companies in ICICI Bank in Surat, it said.
“The main sources of credits in these accounts are from 8 entities — Vandana & Co, Natural Trading Co, Maruti Trading, etc. having accounts in Axis Bank apart from around 469 other entities,” the agency said.
According to ED, eight entities having bank accounts in Axis Bank had received funds through various cheque discounters and a web of 2,700 companies.
“Enquiries further revealed that Afroz Mohamed Hasanfatta, Jain, Bilal Haroon Gilani, Jayesh Desai, Rakesh Kothari were involved in the racket and they created shell companies using dummy persons as directors/partners,” the agency said.
During probe it was found that Jain earned commission for his role in the illegal transactions of foreign remittances made on the strength of fake bills of entry and he was the beneficiary of the proceeds of crime laundered and transferred from Indian companies to the accounts of the Mabrook Trading FZE, a company based at Dubai, on the strength of forged bill of entries, the central probe agency said.
Earlier the ED had arrested Hasanfatta, Jain, Manish Shah, Kothari and Desai and attached their properties totalling Rs 26.55 crore and also filed five charge sheets against them a PMLA court in Ahmedabad. The total attachment in the case is Rs 34.18 crore.
The ED, in March 2014, had busted a multi-crore hawala racket during their search operations in Surat offices of some diamond traders, including Fatta and Jain.
It is alleged that instead of importing diamonds, the duo made bogus import bills, claiming that they have purchased the diamonds from foreign traders.
Using these bills, it is alleged that the accused transferred money outside through their bank accounts, without a single diamond being imported to India.