Vijay Choudhary, the absconding owner of Zoom Developers allegedly involved in one of the biggest bank frauds in the country, on Friday moved five applications before the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court seeking interim relief from the Enforcement Directorate.
The court will hear the matter on July 6.
The development came a day after the ED ordered the attachment of 1,280 acres of land in California, USA, apparently bought by the Indore-based company with money siphoned off from banks in India. The land is valued at about Rs 1,000 crore.
ED sources said that the five applications, moved before the court by Choudhary through his lawyer, are with regard to the five cases registered by the agency against Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd.
Choudhary is seeking relief from being arrested by the ED when he appears before them in compliance with summons, the sources said, adding that he has said in his application that he is willing to cooperate with investigators.
The real estate company has been accused of taking more than Rs 2,600 crore from several banks and illegally using the money abroad. The loans were taken for a proposed project in Europe, but never executed.
Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan called the Zoom Developers case the second biggest bank fraud in the country.
Zoom Developers company secretary Sharad Kabra had appeared before the ED following summons in money laundering cases, and had been arrested on May 20 after the ED felt that he was not cooperating with them.
Choudhary fears that he too would be arrested if he came to the ED office in Indore for questioning, the sources said.
The summonses issued to Choudhary's wife and daughter in the same case has been answered by their advocate who said that neither of them is in a position to appear before the ED.
I-T dept’s heat on Choudhary, his kin
With the fraud case making headlines, the income tax department is looking into tax returns of Choudhary and his relatives. The department is also probing whether Choudhary formed fake companies to route unaccounted money.
“Union finance ministry has sought latest details, happenings about Choudhary, his relatives and his companies,” an I-T department official said requesting anonymity. "Ministry's financial intelligence unit too has swung into action.”
The department is trying to find out whether there are tax evasion petitions and suspicious transaction reports pertaining to Zoom Developers and its owner.
The regional economic intelligence coordination committee in Bhopal has also been told to provide information about other assets of Zoom Developers.
The committee comprises officials of income tax department, central excise department, banks, ED who meet at regular intervals to exchange information on financial frauds, tax evasion, defaults etc.