Probing the alleged money laundering by Chandigarh-based lawyer Mukesh Mittal, his relatives and associates, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said its investigations have revealed that over Rs 174 crore was deposited in 24 accounts of the accused. Stating that “more than 170 accounts are under investigation”, it has said the total sum “may run into thousands of crore of rupees”.
The ED has given these details in a counter-reply sent by its deputy director Gurnam Singh to the adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), New Delhi.
“Further, the suspect has hidden the fact that other connected persons, namely his father R K Mittal, wife Alka Mittal, brother Chetan Mittal, son Akshay Mittal, associates Vineet Goyal, Nishant Goyal, Rakesh Gupta have been actively involved in the sale and purchase of properties since long, which has been established from the preliminary hearing carried out till this stage. The incriminating part of these dealings is that these properties have been acquired at nil or near nil consideration. Further, in most of these properties, prior to acquisition they were associated as advocates,” says the ED reply.
Chetan Mittal is the Assistant Solicitor General for the Government of India in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The ED has said it recovered “highly incriminating documents relating to several shell companies, including 214 blank signed cheques, records related to several shell companies (without any business activities and having heavy financial transactions) and properties worth hundred crores of rupees, which were believed to be linked with the suspect ‘proceeds of crime’.”
According to the ED, “the defendants and their associates” were “found to be indulging in all the activities relating to money laundering”. “This is a unique case of money laundering wherein funds amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees have been layered, transferred and siphoned off in one account to another accounts,” says the note.
Citing the case of Mukesh Mittal’s driver Lal Chand, the ED has said three of his bank accounts showed Rs 25 crore was “deposited/ transferred to some other account/ shell companies”. During questioning, Lal Chand reportedly said his monthly salary was just Rs 12,000. Stating that Lal Chand, named as director of some companies under the Companies Act, “cannot read a single word of English”, the note says he and some others who were also signatories of various accounts were not “aware about the terminology of director, shareholder etc.”
The ED probe reportedly revealed property transactions involving the Mittal family and others, including Alka Gupta, wife of Justice Hemant Gupta, a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
On April 25, The Indian Express reported about Justice Gupta’s phone call to a senior ED officer, who is also the investigator in the alleged money laundering case.
When contacted, Justice Gupta had refused to either confirm or deny if he had made the phone call. Asked about his wife’s business dealings with Mukesh Mittal’s family and whether his wife was earlier a director of RMC Printers Pvt Ltd, he said, “Yes, she was a director. I don’t know when she resigned.” To another question on whether he was aware of his family’s real estate dealings with Mukesh Mittal’s family, he replied, “It is all a matter of record. Police have given a report after thorough investigation. I hope you will also do your own proper investigation.”
\In his email response, Chetan Mittal had said, “As far as the matter pending before the adjudicating authority is concerned, none of my individual accounts or of my wife or my son is subject matter there and the same can be checked with the list of 108 accounts. There may be reference in some joint accounts with my father and brother which are mostly redundant… I have not received any notice personally though my wife has been sent a notice. This (notice received by my wife’s assistant ) cannot be wilfully misconstrued as a notice sent to a suspect or an accused in a case. To the best of my knowledge, the joint account is with Mrs Alka Mittal W/o Sh. Mukesh Mittal… Even that account(s) pertains to the rental income generated from jointly owned shop and there is nothing illegal in that…”
Girish Bali, joint director, Jalandhar zone, who was supervising the investigations, could not be contacted.
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