The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday attached assets worth Rs 13.19 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with a Rs 220-crore Dena Bank fraud allegedly committed by a senior official of Mumbai-based Showman Group.
The ED has found that Vimal Barot, senior vice-president of Showman Group, who is currently in jail, got seven firms including Maharashtra government bodies, some public sector units (PSUs) and private firms, to invest in fixed deposits with a Mumbai-branch of Dena Bank.
It is alleged that Barot in connivance with the bank manager, later opened overdraft (loan) account in the names of these fixed deposit holders, borrowed money against the deposits and siphoned off Rs 220 crore from the bank. The fraud was detected when the fixed deposit holders contacted the bank with the deposit certificates that turned out to be fake.
The entities which invested in fixed deposits through Barot include Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation Ltd, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Mumbai APMC, Hero Motocorp Ltd, Modi Innovative Education Society and Modi ATI Education Pvt. Ltd.
The case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed its chargesheet in 2015. The ED, simultaneously began its probe into the case under the stringent PMLA.
According to ED, the money was allegedly layered in multiple forged accounts created by the accused. The agency had in September 2017, provisionally attached properties worth 10.30 crore.
“Now more properties belonging to the accused in the names of his relatives and shell companies controlled by him have been provisionally attached by the Enforcement Directorate. The value of properties attached is Rs. 13.19 crore. This provisional attachment order includes three residential flats in Mumbai, one commercial space in Pune, one BMW car and Rs 96 lakh (approx) in bank accounts. Total attachments in the case now are Rs 23.49 crore,” ED said.
The Indian Express had reported in November 2017 that the ED had tracked the “proceeds of crime” in the case and found that Barot allegedly transferred the ill-gotten money into the accounts of over half a dozen organisations including an Indian Premiere League (IPL) team and a listed firm.