PMC Bank fraud: ED raids 5 locations, including BVA party chief’s Mumbai office
Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials are conducting raids at five locations, including the office of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) president and MLA Hirendra Thakur and premises of the directors of the Viva Group in Vasai -Virar and Palghar areas in connection with the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) bank scam case. ED officials confirmed the development.
The anti-money laundering agency is carrying out searches as part of their probe in the alleged diversion of funds from Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) and its subsidiary companies to the Viva group companies.
HDIL is accused of defrauding PMC Bank of over ₹ ₹6,670 crore by fraudulently obtaining nearly 70% of the bank’s overall loans.
One of the HDIL subsidiaries, Guruashish Constructions Private Limited, controlled by Pravin Raut, is suspected to have diverted funds to Viva groups. The ED has already provisionally attached properties worth ₹72 crore belonging to Raut under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Commenting on the development MLA Thakur said, “We were prepared for the ED’s visit after the action on Pravin Raut. Around 35-40 personnel from ED in seven big vehicles arrived at our Virar office at 9.30 am and they (ED) are still present. We are cooperating with the ED as we have nothing to hide. All our dealings are through cheques. We are prepared to answer all their queries and even willing to visit the ED office. We have nothing to hide.”
ED began the money laundering probe in the PMC Bank case after Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police registered a criminal case in September 2019 against HDIL, its promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan and Waryam Singh, Joy Thomas (chairman and managing director of PMC bank Ltd.) and others for causing loss in thousands of crores to PMC Bank.
ED earlier stated that investigation had revealed that ₹95 crore was siphoned off through HDIL by Pravin Raut in conspiracy and connivance with others. The source of the funds were illegal availed bank loans or advances by HDIL. There was no document or agreement etc. in support of these payments made to Raut. Further, as per the HDIL ledger, the funds were given to Raut for acquiring land in Palghar area.
ED’s investigation also revealed that Raut paid ₹1.6 crore to his wife Madhuri Pravin Raut from the proceeds of crime. Of this, Madhuri transfered ₹55 lakh as interest free loan to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha Raut. The amount was reportedly utilised for purchase of a flat in Dadar East, the ED said.
Investigation revealed that Varsha and Madhuri are partners in Avani Construction from which the former has received ₹12 lakh as overdrawn capital converted to loan.
ED had questioned Varsha in this connection and has summoned her for a second round of questioning.
The central agency earlier had attached several properties of Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, Wadhawan Family trust and others, totalling to ₹293 crore in the PMC Bank fraud case. Jewellery worth ₹63 crore was also seized. A prosecution complaint has been filed by ED against Wadhawan and others for money laundering under PMLA, 2002.