The Enforcement Directorate has provisionally attached 45 acres of land worth about ₹55 crore in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore allegedly held in the name of a “benami” company of the Nilgiris MP and former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, the agency said on Thursday.
According to the ED, Mr. Raja — during his tenure as the Union Minister of Environment & Forests from 2004 to 2007 — had granted environmental clearances to a real-estate company, based out of Gurugram. It is one of the largest real estate companies in the country, also listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, it said.
“During the course of PMLA [Prevention of Money Laundering Act] investigation, ED has found that the real-estate company has given kickback to A. Raja as quid pro quo for awarding the environmental clearance, around the same period in the year 2007, in the garb of land commission income in the hands of one ‘benami’ company of A. Raja,” said the ED statement.
The agency alleged that Mr. Raja had incorporated the company in 2007 in the name of his family members and his close family friend, “with the sole objective of using it as a vehicle to park the proceeds of crime”.
“The said company was never engaged in any business activity since inception and the entire money received in the company was quid pro quo from the real estate deal and was used for acquiring land in Coimbatore district,” it said.