The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday raided three premises in Delhi of Lalu Prasad’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti and son-in-law in a money laundering case. The officials raided the three farmhouses located in high-class localities of Ghitorni, Bijwasan and Sainik Farms. The farmhouses belong to Bharti, her husband Shailesh Kumar and the third is registered in the name of M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited. The raid comes a day after the CBI conducted multiple searches against RJD leader Lalu Prasad and his family.
On Saturday, during the searches, the agency said, “incriminating” documents, electronic devices, including phones, were seized. According to PTI, sources said both Bharti and Shailesh were questioned about certain documents recovered during the raids. They, however, said that this was just a brief interaction and detailed questioning will be conducted after they are served official summonses.
The searches are connected to a money laundering probe of Rs 8,000 crore, being conducted by the agency against two Delhi-based businessmen brothers, Surendra Kumar Jain and Virendra Jain, and others who are alleged to have laundered several crore rupees using over 90 shell companies. The Jain brothers were arrested by the ED earlier under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). One of the firms that the arrested duo dealt with was M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited. Bharti and her husband are alleged to have been directors of this firm in the past.
The agency said it was detected that 1,20,000 shares of M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited 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 1,20,000 shares, it said, were bought back by Bharti at Rs 10 per share, causing huge gains to her.
The ED had also arrested Rajesh Agarwal, a chartered accountant allegedly linked to Bharti, who provided accommodation entries (black funds) of about Rs 60 lakh to M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited.
The searches, they said, are part of investigations to unravel these links which allegedly routed black money using
the shell companies under the lens of the anti-money laundering agency. Shell companies are firms set up with nominal paid up capital, high reserves, and surplus on account of receipt of high share premium, investment in unlisted companies and no dividend income or high amount of cash-in-hand.
The firm, the agency said, was registered at 25, Tughlaq Road here till the shares were bought back by Bharti. In 2009-10, the address was changed to Bijwasan, it added. The ED is the third agency probing alleged financial irregularities by the Lalu Prasad family after the CBI and the Income Tax department which recently attached Benami assets worth about Rs 180 crore (market value)) during its investigation against them.
Earlier in June, Misa Bharti had appeared before the Income Tax Department officials in connection with over Rs 1,000-crore Benami (proxy) land deals case, an official said, where she was quizzed for over five hours. The IT Department had attached over 12 properties of Bharti, her husband Shailesh Kumar, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and others under the Benami Transactions Act, 1988. The IT Department also attached two assets of Lalu Prasad’s kin in Delhi and several properties in Bihar after the department issued a provisional order under the Benami Transactions Act, 1988, that came into force on November 1 last year.Earlier this month, Misa Bharti had skipped the department’s summons twice — on June 6 and 12. Her husband also skipped the summons on June 7 and 12. Misa Bharti had skipped the department’s summons twice — on June 6 and 12. Her husband also skipped the summons on June 7 and 12.
The IT Department action came in the wake of the May 16 searches at 22 places in and around Delhi in connection with the alleged benami property deals involving RJD chief and his children Tejashwi Yadav, Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and Misa Bharti. Besides Lalu Prasad’s residence, IT officials carried out searches at the residence of party MP PC Gupta as well as several businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi and Haryana’s Gurugram and Rewari.
with PTI inputs