Officials of the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday said they had provisionally attached property of a Congress leader in Jalandhar for purchasing property in Canada without taking Centre’s permission under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The seized property is the residential premises of leader, situated at village Nangal Shama in Jalandhar, attached against the equivalent value of property in Canada.
The property that was attached by ED’s Jalandhar zone office was of the same value (Rs 2.01 crore) as purchased by Congress leader Sukhwinder Singh aka Lally, the former president of District Congress Committee, Jalandhar (Rural), and his associates.
Lally is a close relative of a Punjab Cabinet minister and was appointed district Congress president last year. He owns several business establishments in Jalandhar.
Lally said that ED has “seized my house because as per law they have to keep some property as a guarantee till the time their investigation is not complete”. He, however, can stay in his house, he added. It is learnt that his house in Nangal Shana is worth Rs 2.84 crore.
“ED is authorised to attach the property here against the property purchased outside the country by violating the FEMA Act under section 37 A of the FEMA ACT, that empowers the authorised officers of the Directorate of Enforcement to seize property of equivalent value in India against undeclared assets held abroad by any Indian resident in contravention of Section 4 of the FEMA,” said a senior officer adding that the Congress leader has transferred money to Canada for purchasing some assets in the Brampton area as they allegedly have accounts in foreign countries and property of the same value has been attached here.
“Further investigation and scrutiny of various seized material revealed that Lally had illegitimately purchased a house in Ontario, Canada for around CAD 3,60,000. The money required for purchase of the said house was transferred illegitimately through non-banking channel from India and some part was also arranged by Lally through his friend in Canada without adhering to the due procedures as laid down under the FEMA and/or prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India,” the ED official added.
“Apart from this, during the probe, it was also found that Lally maintained undeclared bank accounts in Canada since 2010-11. Further, during the probe of ED, it was also seen that he (Lally) received funds to the tune of Rs 16.5 lakh in India from a resident of New Zealand in unauthorised manner and moreover, he also arranged funds for his relative in Canada to the tune of CAD 4,500 in unauthorised manner and thus Lally, illegally acquired “foreign exchange” total to the tune of CAD 3,64,585 (equivalent to Rs 2.01 crore as on date) and the ED has seized the residential premises of Lally, situated at Village Nangal Shama, Jalandhar against the equivalent value of aforesaid foreign exchange which are acquired/transferred in contravention of Section 4 of FEMA,” ED sources revealed.
ED had raided the premises of Lally and his family members on December 6 last year and had recovered certain incriminating materials to corroborate the initial findings in the case.