May 7, 2021 5:56:41 am
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday granted bail to former vice-president of Surat BJP PVS Sarma in a case related to alleged forging of circulation figures of newspapers owned by him to dupe the government and advertising agencies. He was charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Currently lodged in the Lajpor Central Jail in Surat, Sarma was earlier granted bail by the Gujarat HC in March in relation to an FIR filed in November 2020 by the deputy director of Investigation wing of Income tax (IT) department Surat against Sarma and another director Sitaram Adukiya. It had alleged amassment of disproportionate assets and tax evasion through forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
With relief granted in both the complaints, Sarma is now expected to be out of prison on Friday, according to a source.
Sarma had allegedly shown circulation figures of a Gujarati newspaper and English newspaper — run by Sanket Media — as 23,500 copies and 6,000 – 6,300 copies respectively to get advertisements. Sarma was appointed as one of the directors of Sanket Media Pvt Ltd in March 2019.
The investigation wing of the I-T department found that the actual circulation figure for the Gujarati newspaper was 300-600 copies and 0-290 copies for the English daily. Using fake figures and bogus documents, Sarma allegedly availed advertisements from government and private agencies to the tune of Rs. 2.70 crore.
The ED also alleged Sarma of faking circulation figures of his newspaper, Satyam Times, published in English and Gujarati, under Sanket Media Pvt Ltd to get advertisements. The ED had arrested him on November 26, 2020 under PMLA.
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