Court sent CA to 3-day ED's custody in Rs 8,000 Cr PMLA case

NEW DELHI
23 May 2017

A Delhi court today sent a chartered accountant (CA), arrested in connection with a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket allegedly involving two Delhi-based brothers, to ED custody for three days. CA Rajesh Agarwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Ruby Alka Gupta and the agency had sought his police custody for 14 days claiming his custodial interrogation was required to unearth the conspiracy and the money trail. The agency claimed that more incriminating facts were likely to come out after he is questioned. Earlier in the day, ED sources claimed Agarwal was instrumental in providing accommodation entries to many high- profile people and political entities to help launder their funds. These includes those being probed by the Income Tax Department in a Rs 1,000 crore dubious land deal case. ED sources had also claimed that Agarwal was allegedly involved in routing funds for the Jain brothers, Virendra and Surendra, arrested by the ED in a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket allegedly being run through shell companies. Agarwal would be questioned in detail about all such deals and people linked to him once the agency gets his custody, an official had said. The ED had last week filed a chargesheet against the Jain brothers. It had also attached agricultural land worth Rs 1.12 crore belonging to them in Bhatti village in the National Capital Region. With this, the total amount of property attached so far in the case amounts to Rs 65.82 crore. The ED claims it has identified at least 90 shell firms in this case, including 26 of them for allegedly laundering about Rs 62.20 crore. Shell companies are non-trading firms, often listed on a stock exchange, as a vehicle either to raise funds before starting operations or attempt a takeover or to act as a front for illegal business, as per the Business Dictionary. This case had emerged after the ED had filed a criminal complaint in February this year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It was based on a chargesheet filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office against certain individuals and firms "for providing accommodation entries by accepting funds from their beneficiaries through mediators and converting the same into share premium transactions in the beneficiary company". The ED suspects the entire racket to be worth about Rs 8,000 crore of slush funds.(PTI)