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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Viva Group director Mehul Thakur arrested by ED

The ED told the court that Mehul Thakur, through his family members and relatives, owned more than 25 companies. Most of these firms are now defunct but were used to “divert huge funds from HDIL” in “connivance” with HDIL promoter Rakesh Wadhawan.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: January 24, 2021 2:01:55 am
Viva Group director arrested, Mehul Thakur arrest, ED probe, Enforcement Directorate, Indian express newsJammu and Kashmir Police's Crime Branch filed a chargesheet against two accused in a seven-year-old case related to issuance of a forged bank guarantee bond for an amount of Rs. 1 crore. (Representational)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday arrested Mehul Thakur, Director of Viva Group – run by the family of Vasai MLA and leader of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, Hitendra Thakur – for diverting over Rs 196 crore from Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) to the group and transferring two properties worth Rs 34 crore of a company controlled by HDIL promoters to the group without any monetary consideration.

Mehul is the son of Deepak Thakur, a cousin of Hitendra Thakur. The agency also arrested Madan Gopal Chaturvedi, a chartered accountant and director of a few companies owned by Mehul. Later, a local court remanded Mehul and Chaturvedi to ED custody till January 27.

The ED told the court that Mehul, through his family members and relatives, owned more than 25 companies. Most of these firms are now defunct but were used to “divert huge funds from HDIL” in “connivance” with HDIL promoter Rakesh Wadhawan.

The remand application submitted by ED added that Viva Holding, Viva Estate, Viva Kshitz Enterprises Private Limited and Viva Home Developers have received Rs 90.51 crore, Rs 70.11 crore, Rs 32.93 crore and Rs 2.75 crore, respectively, from HDIL.

“Such diversion of funds from HDIL controlled by the Wadhawans to the Viva Group controlled by Mr Mehul Thakur and others remain largely unexplained,” the agency told the court. It claimed that these funds are apparently the illegal fund diverted from the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank. Besides, the agency said that its investigation has found that Mack Star Marketing Private Limited, a company operationally controlled by Wadhawan, “illegally and fraudulently transferred two commercial properties of Mack Star in Mumbai, valued at Rs 34.36 crore, to Viva Holding, a company of Viva Group” without any monetary consideration.

The ED added that Chaturvedi assisted Mehul in transferring of property of Mack Star to Viva Holdings and prepared the balance sheet of the company, which did not reflect the transactions pertaining to these properties.

The agency has claimed that both Mehul and Chaturvedi were summoned for questioning but they did not cooperate with the investigation and “failed to provide relevant facts in their statements”.

On Friday, the ED had searched five locations linked to the Viva Group, including the residence of Chaturvedi, in connection with its probe into the alleged Rs 6,200 crore fraud perpetrated by HDIL to PMC Bank.

PMC Bank is under regulatory restrictions after the RBI found financial irregularities in regard to the loans given to HDIL. The bank has an exposure of over Rs 6,200 crore to HDIL. The RBI has superseded the board of the bank and appointed an administrator. Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan are currently in jail in the PMC Bank scam case.

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