National

ED attaches 15 land parcels in bogus import case

Funds said to be routed through 3,000 shell firms

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached 15 land parcels in Gujarat’s Surat, taking the value of total attachment in a case of bogus import to over ₹34 crore. The funds were allegedly routed using more than 3,000 companies.

The land measuring about 3,849 square metres belongs to one Madanlal Jain and is held in the name of Rivertouch Resorts Private Limited, a company allegedly controlled by him. Bank accounts with a total balance of ₹2.83 crore of Mr. Jain, who was allegedly involved in the racket, have also been attached.

Bank lodges complaint

The action has been taken under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, on the basis of a complaint received by the Surat Crime Branch from the ICICI Bank against R.A. Distributors Private Limited and others, alleging that the companies had furnished fake bills of entry for illegal outward remittances.

The ED probe revealed that nine companies having accounts with the ICICI Bank in Surat had remitted huge sums to three companies in the United Arab Emirates and 15 companies in Hong Kong, based on forged bills of entry.

“The main source of credits in these accounts are from eight entities, including Vandana & Co., Natural Trading Co. and Maruti Trading, having accounts in the Axis Bank, apart from around 469 other entities. Further, these said eight entities had received funds through various cheque discounters and a web of 2,700 companies,” said an official.

The agency alleges that Afroz Hasan Fatta, who is under investigation for his alleged role in a huge “hawala” racket, Mr. Jain, Bilal Haroon Gilani, Jayesh Desai and Rakesh Kothari were involved. “These accused persons created shell companies using dummy persons as directors/partners,” it said.

Mr. Jain had allegedly earned commissions for his role in the illegal transactions of foreign remittances made using fake bills of entry and was beneficiary of the proceeds of crime laundered and transferred from Indian companies to the accounts of Dubai-based Mabrook Trading FZE.

The agency had earlier arrested Mr. Fatta, Mr. Jain, Manish Shah, Mr. Kothari and Mr. Desai and attached their properties. Five chargesheets have been filed against them so far.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:21:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ed-attaches-15-land-parcels-in-bogus-import-case/article30885485.ece

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