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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

ED attaches Dubai bungalow of Ludhiana bizman in Rs 5,600 crore scam but Punjab cops drag feet

While the Punjab police have failed to arrest one of the main accused in the Rs 5,600 crore National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) scam, Ludhiana businessman Kailash Aggarwal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is moving ahead with its investigation and attached his sprawling bungalow in Dubai.

The Supreme Court rejected Aggarwal’s anticipatory bail application in February, but the Punjab police declared the businessman as absconding.

The palatial bungalow in the posh Palm Jumeirah locality of Dubai was allegedly bought by Aggarwal with the proceeds of crime. The bungalow is spread over an area of 622.44 square meters and estimated to be worth Rs 30 crore.

Aggarwal’s son Abhinav Aggarwal, a proclaimed offender against whom a red corner notice was issued by ED, is learnt to have been hiding in the same bungalow. Abhinav is a co-accused in the money laundering case.

The Ludhiana police could not trace the main accused Aggarwal, who roamed freely, even after a period of nine months.

Absconding as per Ludhiana police records, Aggarwal on October 13 (see video) appeared before a committee constituted by the Supreme Court under the chairmanship of Justice Pardeep Nand Raj. The committee is tasked to look into different aspects of the scam and to suggest measures to retrieve the hard-earned money of 13,000 investors, who had been duped.

Aggarwal is on conditional bail in the case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) pending trial in a Mumbai court. ED has now moved an application to the Mumbai court seeking the cancellation of the bail granted to Aggarwal.

Aggarwal through his counsel appeared before the Supreme Court committee today and prayed he was suffering from many diseases. He did not remember much about financial accounts but would ask his chartered accountant to place all records before the committee on the next date of hearing, his counsel said.

Aggarwal, as per ED’s claim, is having a liability of Rs 700 crore in the PMLA case. He was separately booked by the Ludhiana police on May 15, 2020, on the complaint of the ED as he had fraudulently sold off 19 properties worth Rs 70 crore situated in Ludhiana, attached by ED in the case which legally belonged to the government of India.

The properties in question were in the name of M/s Genex Infratech Pvt Limited, Ludhiana. Aggarwal in connivance with directors, his wife Rajni Aggarwal, and his nephew Abhishek Kansal sold them off. The Ludhiana police led by the then Commissioner of Police Kaustab Sharma, for reasons best known to it, did not include the names of Rajni, Abhishek, and Manmohan in FIR number 93, dated October 10, 2020, at Dehlon police station.

ED had issued a look-out circular against Sumedha Goyal, a daughter of Aggarwal, with business interests in Dubai, Singapore, the Philippines, and the UK. The ED suspected Aggarwal transferred large sums of ill-gotten money abroad through ‘hawala’ and invested it in the businesses of his daughter, Sumedha.

Instead of honouring the ED summons asking her to join the investigations, Sumedha flew to Dubai recently.

Interestingly, two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) were formed, one headed by the then Joint Commissioner of Police Sachin Gupta IPS and his successor Ravcharan Singh Brar IPS. Surprisingly, both recommended cancellation of the FIR registered on ED’s complaint saying that the properties could not remain attached beyond a period of 365 days.

But, the ED trashes the contention of the Punjab police officers on the ground that the PMLA tribunal on December 18, 2014, by a judicial order made the provisional attachment permanent within 365 days which was to continue till the pendency of the trial, sources told


(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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