Several property transactions, allegedly through shell (bogus) companies, worth hundreds of crores in Chandigarh and its periphery are under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The central investigating agency is probing money laundering in a number of property deals through these firms. Under the scanner are lawyer Mukesh Mittal, who works in Chandigarh district courts, his clerks Ajay Singh, Praveen Kumar and his driver Lal Chand.
On Tuesday, ED raided Mittal’s house in Sector 18, and his munshi Ajay Singh’s in Dadumajra. Two other houses in Sector 20 and Sector 32 were also raided. The raids continued till almost 10pm.
ED sources said documents of property — commercial and residential — worth several crores had been recovered. Bank accounts and lockers had also been seized. They said Mittal and his family members, including son and wife, were directors in many of these firms. His two munshis and driver, along with many residents, are also directors in these companies.
These companies have no fixed assets and are doing no activity of any kind. However, their bank accounts show transactions worth crores with regular deposits and withdrawals. “The raid on Mittal’s house is based on an EIR (FIR in ED records) under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. We recorded Ajay Singh’s statement on December 17, 2014, which hinted at Mittal’s involvement,” said an ED official.
However, Mittal denied all charges. “The fraud was done by some other advocate, but the ED is searching my premises. I have no problem with them searching my property files. But they want to seize my clients’ details also. I have claimed privilege over it,” said Mukesh, addressing mediapersons outside his house, adding that the ED was not receiving his application.
ED is also probing the alleged involvement of the UT estate office in the property transactions in which Mittal is involved. To probe it, the investigating agency has summoned a former assistant estate officer, who is now retired from the Haryana Civil Service (HCS).
The anticipatory bail application of Mittal’s two clerks and driver will come up for hearing on Wednesday.