ED attaches assets worth Rs 367 crore in Bhushan Steel ‘bank fraud’ case, ET RealEstate

March 9, 2024
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<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has attached immovable assets worth Rs 367 crore in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and some cities in Odisha as part of a money-laundering probe linked to an alleged bank-loan fraud against Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL).

A provisional order has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach the assets that were held “in the name of benamidars/shell entities through dummy directors so as to conceal them and to ensure that they are out of the reach of law enforcement agencies”, the ED has said in a statement.

After completing the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP), BSL was taken over by Tata Steel Limited in 2018.

The ED has accused BSL, its managing director Neeraj Singal and associates of forming “several shell companies”.

“They rotated funds from one company to another through a chain of multiple entities. The funds were circulated to infuse capital, buy property and for other personal purposes not intended by the banks,” it has said.

The agency has claimed that its probe revealed that the promoters, directors and officials of BSL prepared “forged” documents and made fraudulent representations before banks to discount letters of credit (LCs) and “diverted” the funds back into their own companies with mala-fide intentions.

Funds, it said, were “misappropriated” against the fabricated LCs created in favour of JSW Steel Limited and Hindustan Zinc Limited.

“The misappropriated funds were diverted to other group/associated companies, causing wrongful loss to the State Bank of India and the Punjab National Bank,” the agency has claimed.

Singal was arrested by the ED in June 2023 and he is currently in jail under judicial custody.

The ED’s money-laundering case stems from a chargesheet filed against the company and its promoters by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), an investigative arm of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

The agency arrested Pankaj Tewari, the former vice-president (banking) of the company, former VP (accounts) Pankaj Agarwal, former chief financial officer Nittin Johri, Ajay Mittal, the brother-in-law of former promoter Neeraj Singal, and Ajay Mittal’s wife and sister of Neeraj Singal, Archana Mittal, in January, claiming that they “knowingly received proceeds of crime to the extent of Rs 80 crore”.

“They also mortgaged properties of BSL and routed the funds to the family of Neeraj Singal,” the ED has said.

Archana Mittal has been granted bail while all others are in judicial custody.

  • Published On Mar 9, 2024 at 04:00 PM IST

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