BY ANAND SINGH
New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) revealed that former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress leader (NCP) Praful Patel used private jets of Punjab and Maharashtra (PMC) Bank fraud accused Wadhawans, the agency on Wednesday claimed that it has identified more properties of the promoters and directors of the Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL).
A senior ED official told IANS, “The agency has traced 1,770.14 acres of land of the HDIL group in Vijaydurg area in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district.
The official said, besides the land, the agency has identified “three hotels of HDIL group in the name of daughter and promoter of the group”.
He also said that the agency has identified four flats in the name of wife and children of PMC Bank’s ex-chairman S. Waryam Singh at Jay Prakash Road, four bungalows in Mumbai’s Andheri area.
The official said that the financial probe agency will attach the properties and lands of the HDIL group and the properties of the former PMC bank chairman in the coming days under the charges of money laundering.
The development comes a day after the probe agency revealed that Patel, as the then Union Minister of Heavy Industry was a frequent flier on Wadhawans’ luxury private jet Bombardier Challenger 300.
The agency two days ago in a statement had said that it has identified properties to the tune of Rs 3,830 crore of the HDIL group and other related companies in India, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.
The ED has registered a case of money laundering against HDIL promoters in the PMC Bank fraud case taking cognisance of the FIR filed into the matter by Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
The ED last week had carried out raids at multiple locations in Mumbai, including the head office of HDIL in Bandra (East) and the residence of Rakesh Wadhawan which is known as Wadhawan House in Bandra (West).
The agency also raided the premises of former PMC bank chairman and former PMC Bank Managing Director Joy Thomas.
The Directors of the HDIL were arrested on October 3 by the Mumbai Police after they were found not cooperating with the sleuths.
It is alleged that HDIL, which is facing bankruptcy proceedings, and its group companies had taken huge loans from the PMC Bank. As many as 21,049 fictitious bank accounts were allegedly created to hide the loans, which were disbursed in violation of RBI norms.
It has also been alleged that HDIL accounted for nearly 73 per cent of the bank’s total loans. Out of the Rs 4,355 crore loans under the scanner, around Rs 2,146 crore were transferred to accounts held by the Wadhawans.
An account belonging to the Wadhawans had a balance of Rs 2,009 crore on August 31, 2019, according to the FIR.
During the probe by the Reserve Bank of India, it was found that directors of PMC Bank had replaced 44 suspicious loan accounts with 20,149 fictitious bank accounts with low individual balances by tampering with bank software.
The PMC Bank’s former Managing Director Joy Thomas was allegedly behind the masking of the borrowers’ accounts.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Mumbai court sent to judicial custody, till October 23, two directors of HDIL – Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan, and Singh – who were arrested in connection with the Rs 4,355 crore scam in the bank.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)