ED attaches Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik's assets in NSEL PMLA case
The federal probe agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for attachment of two flats and a parcel of land in Thane "held by" Sarnaik.
Published: 25th March 2022 02:37 PM | Last Updated: 25th March 2022 02:37 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The ED on Friday said it has attached assets worth Rs 11.35 crore of Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik in the money laundering case linked to the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL).
The federal probe agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attachment of two flats and a parcel of land in Thane (near Mumbai) "held by" Sarnaik.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing the NSEL case after taking congnisance of a 2013 FIR of the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police against its directors, key officials and 25 defaulters.
The accused hatched a "criminal conspiracy" to defraud the investors, induced them to trade on the platform of the NSEL, created forged documents like bogus warehouse receipts, falsified the accounts and thereby committed criminal breach of trust in respect Rs 5,600 crore of approximately 13,000 investors, the ED said.
Probe found that "the money collected from various investors were diverted by borrowers/trading members of NSEL for other activities like investment into real estate, repayment of outstanding debts and other activities."
Talking about the role of Sarnaik and his linked companies, it said that a firm called Aastha Group, a defaulting member of NSEL, has liability of Rs 242.66 crore towards the exchange.
"Aastha Group diverted Rs 21.74 crore of Vihang Aastha Housing Projects LLP in the period of 2012-13. Out of total amount of Rs 21.74 crore received by Vihang Aastha Housing Projects LLP, Rs 11.35 crore was transferred to Vihang Enterprises and Vihang Infrastructure Pvt. Limited, both firms controlled by Pratap Sarnaik and his family members," the ED alleged.
The remaining amount of Rs 10.50 crore originating from Aastha Group was paid to one Yogesh Deshmukh. "This amount (of Rs 10.50 crore) has already been attached under PMLA and the same has been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA," it said.
The total value of attached assets in this case now stands at Rs 3,254.02 crore, the ED said.
The agency earlier this week attached assets worth Rs 6.45 crore of a company owned by Shridhar Madhav Patankar, the brother-in-law of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in connection with a money laundering investigation.
A number of politicians and ministers of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government have faced ED action in the past.
NCP leader and minister in the Thackeray cabinet Nawab Malik was arrested by the ED last month on money laundering charges, his former colleague Anil Deshmukh was held in a separate case and a sugar mill linked to state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was attached by the agency last year in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam case.
Assets belonging to Maharashtra minister and NCP MLA Prajakt Tanpure and others were also attached by it last month in connection with its probe into the alleged scam in MSCB. It has also questioned Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha in a money laundering case while party leader and minister Anil Parab has been questioned by it in the case against Anil Deshmukh.
Sena MP Bhavana Gawali too is facing a money laundering investigation.