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The Enforcement Directorate on Friday chargesheeted Kolkata-based businessman Paras Mal Lodha in a city court in connection with the alleged conversion of over Rs 25 crore old currency into new ones. The prosecution complaint (charge sheet) was filed by the ED before Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) detailing the alleged role of Lodha and others involved in the case. ED sources said though lawyer Rohit Tandon, who was arrested in another case, has not been chargesheeted in this matter, his role has been defined in the report. A decision will be taken to file supplementary charge sheet after further probe.
The matter has been fixed for hearing arguments of Special Public Prosecutor Vikas Garg, who represents ED, on the point of taking cognisance on the chargesheet. The charge sheet gives details of how the accused persons “cheated public at large” and caused monetary loss to the central government. While Lodha was arrested on December 21, 2016, in connection with alleged conversion of over Rs 25 crore old currency into new notes, Tandon is in custody since December 28, 2016, in connection with a similar case lodged by ED. Lodha has been accused of being involved in the conspiracy along with Tandon and indulging in converting old demonetised notes into new currency on commission basis, which constitutes the offence of money laundering.
ED has alleged that the new currency, which was entrusted to banks and government officials and was supposed to be delivered to public/bank account holders, appeared to have been misappropriated by Lodha and others for their monetary gains, thereby “cheating public at large” and causing monetary loss to the government. It has said that he had committed offences including those under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC. The agency had earlier told the court that Lodha was involved in the offence of money laundering which “frustrated” demonetisation policy of the government posing “serious threat” to financial health of the country.
Tandon was arrested by the ED after a raid in connection with a black money probe which led to the alleged seizure of Rs 13.6 crore from his law firm. He was alleged to be involved in illegal conversion of nearly Rs 60 crore demonetised currency.