The ED on Friday said it has seized cash amounts of Rs 32 lakh and USD 10,000 after it raided the "official residence" of TMC MP K D Singh in Delhi and few other locations as part of a money laundering probe against him and others. The central agency said searches were launched on Thursday at seven locations in Delhi and Chandigarh including at registered offices of 14 group companies of the Alchemist Group that is "related to and controlled" by the Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP).
"During searches, a number of documents reflecting the circular nature of transactions, digital evidences and property documents were seized at the official residence of Kanwar Deep Singh in Delhi and cash of Rs 32 lakh along with foreign exchange worth USD 10,000 was found and seized," the Enforcement Directorate said in a statement. It said the official residence of the MP is at Tughlaq Lane, in the Lutyens bungalow zone of the national capital.
The central probe agency had last year summoned the MP, said to be sidelined in the TMC, as part of these investigations. While Singh had resigned from the post of chairman of the Alchemist group in 2012, he is stated to be the Chairman, Emeritus and founder of the business group.
The raids and the latest seizure information come at a time when Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in the national capital and has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah among others. The agency said it also searched Singh's house in Chandigarh and of two directors linked to his companies.
The ED is probing Singh, his linked firms and associates as part of two money laundering cases, it said. The first is based on an FIR filed by the Kolkata Police while the other is on the basis of a charge sheet filed by market regulator SEBI.
In the first criminal case initiated last year, the ED said, the Kolkata Police had booked Singh, his son Karandeep Singh, Alchemist Township India Limited, Alchemist Holdings Limited and various other group companies and directors for cheating thousands of customers. "Singh through companies raised huge amount of money from thousands of customers in the garb of investments by luring them with high returns and also against sale and booking of plots and flats."
"So far, investigation has revealed that these funds raised from public were not used for the intended purpose and were diverted or siphoned off to various group companies," the agency alleged. Money so collected from the innocent public, it said, has been transferred in a circular manner in order to conceal and layer in a "fraudulent" manner.
"Further, various web of entities involved in this process are having dummy directors. These directors have no idea to state the purpose for which the said money was being collected and transferred," the ED charged. The second PMLA case against the MP and a firm linked to him- Alchemist Infra Realty Limited- dates back to September, 2016 when ED filed a criminal case under the PMLA taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed against the company, its directors and others by SEBI.
The scam is stated to be about Rs 1,900 crore and the agency had attached assets worth Rs 239 crore of Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd early this year. It has been alleged by investigators that the company launched an illegal collective investment scheme, also called a ponzi or chit fund scheme, and mobilised funds of about Rs 1,916 crore from the public in the years preceding 2015.
The firm allegedly launched the scheme "without the approval" of the SEBI and led to cheating of gullible investors. In 2015, the firm had informed the SEBI that it had refunded Rs 1,077 crore after the market regulator's investigation and had sought more time to restore the rest of the amount, which was turned down by the regulator.
Subsequently, a charge sheet was filed by the SEBI before a court here in March, 2016. PTI NES NES DV DV
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