BENGALURU: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached Rs 79.76 crore of Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, in connection with Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case on Monday.
According to a release by ED issued on Tuesday, the premises of Devas was searched by ED officials on January 23. The statements of Ranganathan Mohan, Director (Finance), Desaraju Venugopal, Founder Director, and D Nataraj, ex-Director of Devas, were recorded. “The said directors agreed to the crime committed,” ED said.
Two other directors, Ramachandran Viswanathan and M Chandrasekhar, allegedly directly involved in the crime, are yet to be questioned by ED as they are in the US at present.
The case pertains to the illegal agreement entered by Devas with Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL), the commercial arm of ISRO.
As per CBI’s chargesheet, it had found that Devas did not have any technology/ownership of intellectual property rights to deliver the multimedia services it had promised. “The main purpose of entering into the agreement with ISRO/ACL was to raise foreign investments on the strength of the agreement with ISRO and thereafter siphon off the investment raised, out of India in the guise of investment in subsidiary company and legal fee,” ED said.
A few employees of ISRO/ACL also conspired with Devas to enter into the agreement. Based on the agreement with India’s prestigious space firm, Devas was able to raise foreign investment of Rs 579.07 crore. To siphon off the funds illegally, Devas incorporated its subsidiary company in the US, Devas Multimedia America Inc. Of the Rs 579.07 crore, Rs 76.19 crore was transferred to the US subsidiary as investment. Later, Rs 180.77 crore was also transferred in the guise of providing business support services and Rs 230.11 crore was spent as legal fee.
It also noted that the company did not have any major businesses in India other than providing internet services to about 20-25 customers. The staff strength of Devas and its subsidiary was three each, the release said.
The proceeds of the crime in the form of upfront capacity reservation fee available with ISRO and in the form of mutual fund deposits and bank deposits have now been provisionally attached under the provisions of PMLA on February 27, the release said.