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ED nabs Zoom Developers promoter in ₹966-crore bank loan default case

Officials said the searches are being conducted by multiple teams of the Enforcement Directorate in various cities, on Wednesday. File photo   | Photo Credit: Paul Noronha

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Zoom Developers' promoter-cum-director Vijay Choudhary in connection with a ₹966-crore bank loan default case.

The action was taken on the basis of the cases registered by the CBI, which has filed five charge sheets against the accused. 

Mr. Choudhary was arrested in Mumbai and is being taken to Indore for further legal proceedings.

The ED says that Zoom Developers is involved in default of loans to the tune of ₹2,650 crore, taken from 25 banks. However, the present case pertains to ₹966-crore default.

The agency has so far attached assets, including 1,280 acres in California, worth more than ₹130 crore in the money laundering case.

The ED probe has revealed that Mr. Choudhary had got two Trusts, named Beverin Stifung Foundation and Windleaf Foundation, incorporated in Liechtenstein, of which he was the sole beneficiary. Subsequently, through these Trusts, five companies were formed in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Zoom Developers allegedly claimed that they were “aggregators”  and  projected them to Indian bankers as independent entities, which had entered into contracts and sub-contracts with it for rendering engineering services and making procurements.

Based on the "so-called" contracts between Zoom Developers and the "aggregators," the company applied for issuance of Bank Guarantees and Counter-Guarantees to the foreign bankers of the "aggregators." On issuance of the Bank Guarantees, mobilisation amounts were released by the "aggregators" to Zoom Developers.

The funds were allegedly used by the company and its group concerns as investment in share capital, for purchase of properties and other for other expenses. Further extension of the Bank Guarantees were also sought.

The paper contracts were not concluded and the banks loans were never repaid to the banks, it is alleged.

The ED alleges that Mr. Choudhary, in conspiracy with chartered accountant Sharad Kabra and other associates, siphoned off the funds, which were laundered through a large number of companies and used to acquire assets overseas.

"Mr. Choudhary has formed almost 485 companies in the name of himself, his family members and employees. He has also floated 15 companies in the United States, three in the United Kingdom, three in Switzerland, seven in Singapore, four in Germany, nine in the United Arab Emirates, two in China and two in Zimbabwe, apparently for the purpose of money laundering," said an official.

The ED had arrested Mr. Kabra in the case and filed a charge sheet against him.

tHE CBI has also registered a separate case alleging that several crucial papers related to the investigation against Zoom Developers and other accused persons were stolen from its records by some of the company officials.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 7:17:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ed-arrests-zoom-developers-director-in-bank-loan-default-case/article18374129.ece

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