The Enforcement Directorate (ED), Indore unit attached assets worth over Rs 10 crore of two accused in connection with its money laundering probe in the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh.
The provisional attachment of assets order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been issued against Dr Vinod Bhandari, ex-chairman of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) and Dr Jagdish Singh Sagar, an alleged mastermind of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam.
According to sources in the ED, this is the first time they had attached the property of Bhandari against whom they had registered a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act in March, 2014.
Sources said Bhandari had purchased around 15 acres of land near Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science (SAIMS), a private medical college he has set up.
“He purchased the land three years ago for Rs 8.5 crore but could not explain the source of the funds. We know that these funds were money he earned through the scam as there were heavy unexplained cash deposits in the bank account,” ED sources said.
Bhandari has been accused of selling seats to undeserving candidates
Bhandari has been accused of selling seats to undeserving candidates at his private medical college.
The ED also provisionally attached a house in Vijaynagar area and 17 acres land in Bhind, worth around Rs 1.57 crore, owned by Sagar.
“These properties came under our scanner recently. The purchases had been made through cheque, but these cheques were issued on the strength of unexplained cash deposits,” sources said. ED had registered a case under PMLA against Sagar in March, 2014.
An attachment order under PMLA is aimed at depriving the accused from obtaining benefits of their alleged ill-gotten wealth and the accused can appeal against the order before the Adjudicating Authority of the said Act within 180 days.
This is the second time that ED has attached Sagar’s properties. On March 31, 2015, the ED had attached property worth Rs 3.5 crore owned by him. The properties included three houses in scheme number 94 of Indore, one in Gwalior, four luxury vehicles, 21 acres of land in Bhind and Gwalior, three kilograms of gold and Rs 18 lakh cash. Four luxury vehicles had also been attached.
Sagar main accused in MPPEB scam
Sagar is the main accused in the MPPEB scam which was cracked by the Indore crime branch in 2013.
He largely depended on ‘scorers’ or fake candidates from Uttar Pradesh to run the racket. The scorers either sat in place of the candidates or just one seat ahead of them in the examination hall.
ED registered FIR in March, 2014
The Enforcement Directorate’s Indore zonal office registered an FIR in March, 2014 to probe alleged financial irregularities and laundering instances in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board scam, also called ‘Vyapam’ in Hindi, pertaining to admission of candidates and students in professional courses and state services in alleged connivance with officials and politicians.
The agency had named former state Higher Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma and 27 others in its FIR registered after taking cognisance of a clutch of STF FIRs.
CBI is also probing the case.