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ED raids premises linked to Maharashtra MLA in PMC Bank fraud case

·3-min read

New Delhi, Jan 22 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate on Friday raided premises of a Maharashtra MLA and a firm promoted by him for alleged 'illegal diversion of bank funds' in the Rs 4,300-crore PMC Bank fraud and money laundering case, the agency said.

They said at least five residential and business premises linked to Viva Group, promoted by Bahujan Vikas Agadhi (BVA) party chief and MLA Hitendra Thakur, its associates and two of its financial consultants were searched in the Vasai-Virar area of Palghar and Andheri, Juhu and Chembur suburbs in Mumbai, and 'Rs 73 lakh cash, incriminating digital and documentary evidences were recovered'.

Thakur's party had pledged the support of its three MLAs, including his legislator son Kshitij Thakur, to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The NCP and the Congress are also part of the MVA.

The central agency has filed a criminal case of money laundering to probe the alleged loan fraud in Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in October, 2019 against Housing Development Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), its promoters Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, his son Sarang Wadhawan, its former chairman Waryam Singh and ex-managing director Joy Thomas.

It took cognisance of a Mumbai Police economic offences wing FIR against them that charged them with causing 'wrongful loss, prima facie to the tune of Rs 4,355 crore to PMC Bank and corresponding gains to themselves'.

The latest raids were conducted to collect more evidence after it was found that the 'Wadhawans in connivance with Viva Group have diverted more than Rs 160 crore from HDIL to many companies and entities belonging to Viva Group in the garb of commission.' 'Source of these funds from HDIL to Viva Group is apparently the illegal fund diversion from PMC Bank,' the ED claimed.

The agency said in a statement that it is also probing another instance involving the searched firm where the Wadhawans allegedly 'siphoned off' Rs 200 crore loan sanctioned by Yes Bank to a company called Mack Star Marketing Pvt Ltd.

'This loan was siphoned by the Wadhawans by showing it for fictitious purpose,' it said.

Yes Bank, its promoters and executives are being probed by the ED as part of a separate money laundering case linked to sanction of illegal loans to various entities.

'It was found that Wadhawans illegally and fraudulently transferred two commercial properties of Mack Star in Kaledonia building, Andheri East (Mumbai) valued at Rs 34.36 crore to Viva Holding, a company of Viva Group,' the ED claimed.

For the transfer of these properties, it said, two separate sale agreements were prepared on June 26, 2017 and the sale value for both the commercial properties was shown as Rs 34.36 crore. 'In the sale agreements, the purchase amount was shown to be paid by 37 cheques by Viva Holding to Mack Star Marketing Pvt Ltd.' 'Investigation has revealed that these cheques were never encashed in the account of Mack Star and Viva Holding never made payments for the purchase of the said property to Mack Star,' the ED alleged. It said the Wadhawans had 'illegally transferred' these properties to Viva Group in violation of the article of association of Mackstar. 'Viva Holding never showed these properties in its balance sheets,' it said.

The ED had earlier questioned Varsha Raut, the wife of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in this case for alleged transfer of Rs 55 lakh suspect funds as 'interest free loan' into her account by Madhuri Raut, the wife of another accused in the case Pravin Raut. PTI NES SMN SMN