Assets worth more than Rs 239 crore belonging to a firm owned by Trinamool Congress MP KD Singh have been attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the agency’s money laundering probe into an alleged Ponzi scheme run by the firm that allegedly swindled more than Rs 1,900 crore of investors’ money.
The properties belong to Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd (AIRL), which has been earlier prosecuted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for duping investors through the scheme. In a statement, the ED said it has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attaching properties “situated at various places like Chandigarh, Panchkula, Derabassi, SAS Nagar (Punjab), Shimla and also bank accounts in HDFC Bank against Ms Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd.”
The total value of the attached assets is Rs 239.29 crore, it said.
The agency had last year summoned the Rajya Sabha member, now sidelined in the TMC, as part of the probe. While Singh had resigned from the post of Chairman of the Alchemist group in 2012, his Rajya Sabha profile mentions him as the Chairman Emeritus and founder of the business group.
The ED’s probe against Singh and the firm dates back to September, 2016 when it filed a criminal case under the PMLA taking cognisance of a chargesheet filed against the company, its directors and others by SEBI.
“Investigation revealed that the proceeds of crime generated by AIRL were laundered through the web of companies. Investigations also revealed that the funds mobilised by the firm from various investors were never utilised for the purpose for which they were collected, and the same were transferred to bank accounts of other group companies, which were mainly paper companies, from where they were systematically siphoned off by the accused and used to purchase properties…” the ED said in a statement.
It has been alleged by the agencies that the firm launched an illegal collective investment scheme and mobilised Rs 1,916 crore in the years preceding 2015.