ED raids Trinamool Congress MP KD Singh's premises in money laundering case
Kolkata, Sep 19: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted searches at properties linked to Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP KD Singh in connection with a money laundering case, officials said.
The raids in Delhi and Chandigarh came at a time when Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in the national capital and has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah among others.
Officials said the raids are being carried out to collect additional evidence in a case against the MP under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is linked to an alleged ponzi fraud and housing scam.
The scam is stated to be about Rs 1,900 crore and the agency had attached assets worth Rs 239 crore of a firm, Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd, linked to Singh, early this year. The central probe agency had last year summoned the Rajya Sabha member, now sidelined in theTMC, as part of these investigations.
While Singh had resigned from the post of chairman of the Alchemist group in 2012, he is stated to be the Chairman, Emeritus and founder of the business group. The ED's probe against Singh and the firm (Ms Alchemist Infra Realty Limited) dates back to September, 2016 when it filed a criminal case under the PMLA taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed against the company, its directors and others by market regulator SEBI.
"Investigation revealed that the proceeds of crime generated by Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd were laundered through the web of companies."
"Probe also found that the funds mobilised by the firm from various investors were never utilised for the purpose for which they were collected and the same were transferred to bank accounts of other group companies which were mainly paper companies from where they were systematically siphoned off by the accused and used to purchase properties at various locations in the country," the ED has said in the past about this case.
It has been alleged by the investigators that the company launched an illegal collective investment scheme, also called a ponzi or chit fund scheme, and mobilised funds of about Rs 1,916 crore from the public in the years preceding 2015.
The firm allegedly launched the scheme "without the approval" of the SEBI and led to cheating of gullible investors. In 2015, the firm had informed the SEBI that it had refunded Rs 1,077 crore after the market regulators investigation and had sought more time to restore the rest of the amount, which was turned down by the regulator.
Subsequently, a charge sheet was filed by the SEBI before a court here in March, 2016. The ED, in the past, has questioned a number of officials and people linked to the realty firm.