The Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) crackdown on dubious companies suspected of money laundering has revealed the involvement of professionals who were the brains behind the creation and operation of shell companies that convert black money to white.
The raids conducted on Saturday revealed the involvement of a chartered accountant identified as Jagdish Purohit. Purohit, an Andheri resident, was accused of converting black money worth Rs46.7 crore for Nationalist Congress Leader (NCP) leader Chaggan Bhujbal. Sources said Purohit was under the agency’s scanner and was summoned after officials did not find him at home.
The agency raided Purohit’s office in Andheri and seized incriminating documents. Sources said Purohit was previously charge-sheeted in the Bhujbal case, in which the former Maharashtra deputy chief minister was held on money-laundering charges.
Officials alleged that Purohit had formed around 700 shell companies with 20 dummy directors. Of these, 130 companies are still operational.
“Purohit gave Bhujbal accommodation entry worth Rs46.7 crore,” said an officer. The ‘accommodation entry’ process entails breaking up large sums of money into smaller and less suspicious sums to avoid coming under the scanner of agencies.
Bhujbal laundered Rs291.71 crore, while his nephew Sameer laundered Rs359.30 crore, said the ED in its draft of charges against the Bhujbals and 51 other associates. The draft was recently submitted to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court.
The central agency said that from 2006 onwards, the Bhujbals and their associates laundered Rs4, 264.25 crore.