THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) has “provisionally attached” a farmhouse owned by RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti in Bijwasan area of South Delhi, in connection with a money laundering case. “Enforcement Directorate has provisionally attached a farmhouse (26, Palam Farms, Bijwasan, New Delhi), of Ms Misa Bharti and Shri Shailesh Kumar, held in the name of M/s Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd., which was purchased using Rs 1.2 crore involved in money laundering in the year 2008-09,” said a statement released by the agency.
Shailesh, Misa’s husband, is one of the directors of Mishail Packers, which is owned by the couple. Sources said the farmhouse was found to have been bought with “proceeds of crime”. An ED team had searched three farmhouses in Delhi — at Ghitorni, Bijwasan and Sainik Farms — in July in connection with the agency’s probe into alleged laundering of over Rs 8,000 crore by two market entry operators, identified as Surendra Jain and Virendra Jain, through a maze of shell companies. While both Surendra Jain and Virendra Jain were arrested in March, the agency arrested a chartered accountant, Rajesh Aggarwal, on May 23.
During its probe, the ED reportedly found that Aggarwal had provided accommodation entries not only for the Jains but for Mishail Packers and Printers also. Further probe indicated that companies floated by the Jain brothers were involved in suspicious transactions with Mishail Packers, and the money moved had been used to buy farmhouses, said ED sources.
The ED probe had initially found that Virendra Jain was a stakeholder in a company, Shalini Holdings, which bought 30,000 shares of Mishail Packers, at Rs 100 each, in 2008. The shares were later sold back to Mishail at Rs 10 per share, sources said. This money, it is suspected, was used to buy the property in Bijwasan.
Investigations revealed that 1,20,000 shares of Mishail Packers and Printers were bought during 2007-08, at Rs 100 per share, by four shell companies — M/s Shalini Holdings Limited, M/s Ad-Fin Capital Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, M/s Mani Mala Delhi Properties Pvt. Ltd., and M/s Diamond Vinimay Pvt. Ltd. These shares, according to the ED, were bought back by Bharti at Rs 10 per share.
Except Diamond Vinimay Pvt. Ltd., a Kolkata-based company, all these shell companies were registered in Delhi and were managed and controlled by the Jain brothers, said ED sources. “During investigation, it has been revealed that Rajesh Agarwal, CA and mediator in transactions related to the Jain brothers, had provided Rs 90 lakh to the Jain brothers in advance so as to invest in Mishail Packers and Printers as share premium,” said an ED official.
The Jain brothers are reported to have disclosed during interrogation that their modus operandi was to receive cash in advance from the beneficiaries for investing as share premium. They would later sell these shares at a huge discount to the directors/ close relatives of beneficiaries.
Mishail Packers, the ED said, was registered at 25, Tughlaq Road, in Delhi till the shares were bought back by Bharti. In 2009-10, the address was changed to Farm No. 26, Palam Farms, VPO Bijwasan, New Delhi, it added. “Misa Bharti and Shri Shailesh Kumar were the directors of the company during the relevant period,” said an ED official.
According to the Registrar of Companies filings, Mishail Packers was incorporated in 2002, with Shailesh as its director. The other director who joined the company this year is Nilesh Kumar.
The ED’s investigations, based on a case lodged by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), involved 90 shell companies with 559 beneficiaries and movement of about Rs 11,000 crore.
According to the ED, the Jains accepted black money from clients through mediators and converted them into shares of premium transactions through shell companies for a commission. The Jains moved money through 26 shell companies, the agency said. Lalu has rubbished the charges on multiple occasions.