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Friday, August 14, 2020

ED raids owners of Ambience mall, 5-star Delhi hotel

The searches were conducted in connection with a case of alleged siphoning off of more than Rs 800 crore in bank loan.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: August 1, 2020 3:14:32 am
ed raids ambience mall owner, delhi hotel, Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, ambience mall, delhi news, indian express Workers sanitise the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon, Haryana, a day ahead of reopening of malls in the NCR region on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted searches at seven premises associated with the Ambience Group, which owns Leela Ambience Convention Hotel in east Delhi and Ambience Mall of Gurgaon.

According to the agency, searches were conducted at the offices of Aman Hospitality Pvt Ltd (AHPL), an Ambience Group company, and residential premises of its directors Raj Singh Gehlot, Dayanand Singh, Mohan Singh Gehlot and their associates.

The searches were conducted in connection with a case of alleged siphoning off of more than Rs 800 crore in bank loan. The ED alleges this money was moved through shell companies floated by Gehlot, where his own employees were directors.

The agency claimed to have seized Rs 16 lakh cash and foreign currency equivalent to around Rs 24 lakh (16,120 Euros; £5,115; and $6,302) during Friday’s searches at the residence of Raj Gehlot. Several incriminating documents and digital evidence were also seized during the search, according to the ED.

The ED case is based on an FIR registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Jammu against AHPL and its directors in connection with alleged loan fraud in the construction and development of the 5-star ‘Leela Ambience Convention Hotel’ at 1, CBD, Maharaj Surajmal Road, in east Delhi. Sources said the case was registered on a complaint from J&K Bank, which was part of the consortium of banks that had granted the loan.

The ED said in a statement: “Investigation under PMLA revealed that a huge part of loan amount of more than Rs 800 crore for the hotel project was siphoned off by AHPL and Raj Singh Gehlot and his associates through a web of companies owned / controlled by them. A substantial part of the loan money was transferred by AHPL to several companies and individuals on the pretext of ‘payment of running bills and advance for supply of material/work executed’. The employees of Ambience Group and the associates of Raj Singh Gehlot were made directors/proprietors of these companies and Raj Singh Gehlot was the ‘authorized signatory’ in many of these companies.”

The agency stated, “No material was supplied and no work was executed and almost the entire amount was immediately routed back to the entities owned by Raj Singh & Sons HUF [Hindu Undivided Family] and his brother’s son…

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