DELHI LAWYER Rohit Tandon, suspected to be involved in money laundering, has claimed that the over Rs 13 crore recovered from his office earlier this month —in old and new currency notes — belongs to him, according to sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Tandon was arrested by the ED on Wednesday under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
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“He is neither telling us how much money he has actually moved nor disclosing on whose behalf he has been doing this. Parasmal Lodha, during his interrogation, claimed that the money recovered by agencies belongs to Tandon. He also claims that it belongs to him,” said an ED official. “Tandon insists that the money is his own, and he is willing to go to jail for it,” said a source.
The ED has accused Tandon of laundering over Rs 70 crore after the demonetisation announcement on November 8. He is suspected to have been aided by various bank managers, entry operators and businessman Parasmal Lodha who was arrested earlier.
Sources said Tandon had to be arrested for custodial interrogation as he was not cooperating with the investigations. According to sources, while Lodha and Tandon have informally conceded that they have been moving money for others, they have refused to reveal names. On Tuesday night, the ED arrested Ashish Kumar, manager of Kotak Mahindra Bank, on charges of helping Tandon to exchange old notes adding up to over Rs 35 crore. Kumar is alleged to have executed the exchange by depositing the money into accounts of shell companies and then issuing demand drafts in fictitious names. Tandon and some entry operators are reported to have taken a bribe of Rs 12 crore for this purpose.
Lodha is also alleged to have helped Tandon exchange Rs 15 crore. Sources said Rs 10 crore in demonetised notes was found in Tandon’s office. “We are verifying documents seized from Tandon’s office, sent to us by the Income Tax department. Tandon has a string of properties in Delhi-NCR. The details of his bank accounts and source of funds are being verified,” said an ED official.
“We will question Lodha and Tandon on their associates and contacts in various banks where they have exchanged money. There could be more arrests,” said an ED official. The ED will also take custody of entry operator Raj Kumar Goyal, who has been arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the same case.
Meanwhile, the agency has reportedly recovered some diamonds, rubies and jewellery from a bank locker purportedly belonging to Lodha in Kolkata. Lodha was arrested by the agency in “connection with the recovery of a large amount of new currency notes from a company belonging to Rohit Tandon and J Sekhar Reddy of Chennai”.