The enforcement directorate (ED) on Thursday provisionally attached a Rs 30.22-crore land parcel owned by Yashovardhan Birla-promoted Birla Surya Ltd in Satara in Maharashtra under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED is now planning to launch prosecution proceedings against Birla and PVR Murthy, managing director of Birla Power Solutions Ltd, said ED sources.
“We have attached 42-acre land in Satara in Maharashtra belonging to Birla Surya. With this, the total attachment in the case has reached around Rs 42.5 crore. The agency will soon launch prosecution against Birla and Murthy under Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” an ED official told The Indian Express.
In September 2014, the agency had attached land worth Rs 12.5 crore owned by Birla Power Solutions in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. “The provisional attachment has been challenged in a PMLA court in Delhi,” said the official spokesperson of the group.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating a case of money laundering against Yash Birla Group. According to the agency, Birla Power Solutions has allegedly defaulted on payments of Rs 250 crore it raised from small investors for a power project. The ED has alleged that Birla Power Solutions diverted the money raised through small investors to other group firms through a series of banking transactions to buy land and shares.
According to an ED order of January 19, passed by its adjudicating authority, Birla Power Solutions Ltd diverted Rs 180 crore of investor funds, over four years from March 2009 to March 2013, to six other group companies through multiple transactions involving eight bank accounts.
Rejecting the allegations made by ED, the Yash Birla Group challenged the order before the appellate tribunal.
“There are no illegitimate land transaction by Yash Birla Group companies. Birla Power solutions has returned Rs 120 crore to small depositors and is planning to go for restructuring under the new Companies Act,” the spokesperson said.
Apart from the ED, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police is also investigating a case against Birla Power Solutions under sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly defaulting on repayment of fixed deposits to its investors.
In May this year, Birla was named in Switzerland’s official gazette with regard to ongoing tax probes in India. He is among five Indian nationals with Swiss bank accounts whose names have been made public.