The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties worth more than Rs 125 crore belonging to various accused in the multi-crore Bhola drug racket case.
The major portion of the properties attached by the central agency belongs to former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Goraya-based businessman Chunni Lal Gaba and his family.
The attached properties include at least 95 firms and commercial establishments owned by prime accused Jagdish Bhola, Gaba and his family, Amritsar-based businessman and former SAD leader Manjinder Singh Bittu Aulakh and his family and Canadian citizens Harpreet Singh and Davinder Narwal.
Of these 95 properties, more than 70 are owned by Gaba, his wife and sons — Gurmesh and Gurbesh. Some properties are in the name of Gaba’s manager Suresh Kumar.
Two pharmaceuticals firms belonging to the Gabas in Gagret and Baddi of Himachal Pradesh — from where huge cache of drugs were recovered by Punjab Police — have also been attached by the directorate. Also, the Shiva Cold Storage Chains and other business establishments run by Gaba have been attached.
“The current market rate of the attached properties is more than Rs 125 crore. These properties are situated in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Delhi and Rajasthan. The Gaba family has failed to disclose the source of funds pumped into properties worth `90 crore owned by them,” said a senior ED official of ED, pleading anonymity.
The Gabas are considered very close to former minister and Kartarpur SAD MLA Sarwan Singh Phillaur and Chief parliamentary secretary and Phillaur MLA, Avinash Chandar. Both leaders have also been questioned by the ED in the case.
“Many bureaucrats and politicians have invested their unaccounted money with the help of the Gaba family. We are investigating this angle too,” said an ED source.
After attaching these properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the central agency, sources said, would press for possession of these properties. The attached properties also include three big chunks of land owned by Bhola in Nangal.
The unaccounted money seizure in the Bhola drug case has now gone up to Rs 500 crore. In April this year, the ED had attached properties worth Rs 100 crore owned by Bhola and his alleged accomplice Bittu Aulakh and their families.
Bhola, a former Arjuna awardee, and Aulakh, a prominent Akali leader of Amritsar, are in the ED net for running a multicrore international drug racket. Earlier, the ED had attached properties worth `300 crore belonging to NRI Anoop Kahlon and Manpreet alias Mani Gill, also accused in the case. Kahlon and Gill were arrested by Punjab Police in 2013.
Of 95 properties attached, 70 owned by Gaba family
*The attached properties include at least 95 firms and commercial establishments owned by various accused, including kingpin Jagdish Bhola, Chunni Lal Gaba and others
*Of these 95 properties, more than 70 are owned by Gaba, his wife and sons — Gurmesh and Gurbesh. Some properties are also in the name of Gaba’s manager Suresh Kumar.
*Two pharma firms belonging to the Gabas in Himachal — from where huge cache of drugs were recovered — have also been attached by the directorate