Tamil Nadu

ED attaches 7-crore worth properties of jewellery merchant

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties worth ₹7 crore linked to Anantha Padmanaban, a Chennai-based bullion trader and jewellery merchant, in connection with a bogus import case involving “hawala” operator Afroz Fatta and others.

The attached assets consists of 9,600 sq. ft. of land along with a commercial building spread across 20,292 sq. ft. in T. Nagar. It is held in the name of NAC Jewellers (P) Limited, according to the agency.

The ED initiated the money-laundering probe based on a complaint received by the Crime Branch in Gujarat's Surat from the ICICI Bank against R.A. Distributors Private Limited and others.

It was alleged that the companies prepared fake bills of entry and presented them before the bank for illegal outward remittances in the guise of imports.

The agency alleged that nine companies having accounts with the ICICI Bank in Surat had remitted huge amounts of money to three firms in the United Arab Emirates and 15 in Hong Kong.

“The main sources of credits in these accounts were from eight entities, apart from 469 others. These eight entities, which had accounts with the Axis Bank, received funds via cheque discounters and a web of around 2,700 companies,” said an official.

The agency said Afroz Fatta, Madanlal Jain, Bilal Haroon Gilani, Jayesh Desai and Rakesh Kothari were involved in the racket. They floated shell companies using dummy persons as directors or partners, it is alleged.

Jain, the alleged main conspirator, earned commission for facilitating the illegal transactions. A part of the commission, amounting to ₹7 crore, was routed to the account of NAC Jewellers (P) Limited, said the agency.

Padmanaban allegedly knew that the money so received was tainted. In order to conceal the transactions, Jain had prepared bogus invoices of diamond purchases by Natural Trading Co. from NAC Jewellers, it is alleged.

The ED had earlier arrested Afroz Fatta, Jain, Manish Shah, Rakesh Kothari and Jayesh Desai and attached their properties worth ₹34.29 crore. Five chargesheets have been filed against them so far.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 9:38:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ed-attaches-7-crore-worth-properties-of-jewellery-merchant/article32289374.ece

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