ED raids owners of realty firm Ambience Group in money laundering probe
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday raided the residence and office premises of owners including Raj Singh Gehlot of Delhi-based realty firm - Ambience Group, which runs Ambience malls in NCR and the five-star Leela Ambience Convention Hotel in east Delhi in a money laundering case, the agency said in a statement.
The agency said that seven premises including the office of M/s Aman Hospitality Pvt Ltd (AHPL), other companies of the Ambience Group and the residential premises of its Chairman Raj Singh Gehlot, directors Dayanand Singh and Mohan Singh Gehlot and their associates were searched.
During the search, ED recovered Indian currency worth Rs 16 lakh and foreign currency equivalent to around Rs 24 lakh [16,120 Euros; 5,115 Pounds; and 6,302 US$] from the residence of company chairperson Raj Singh Gehlot apart from incriminating documents and digital evidence.
The agency had initiated a probe under money laundering on the basis of a Jammu Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) case in August 2019 against AHPL and its directors for money laundering in the construction and development of the 5-star Leela Ambience Convention Hotel situated at 1, CBD, Maharaj Surajmal Road, Near Yamuna Sports Complex, Delhi.
“Investigation under PMLA (prevention of money laundering act) revealed that a huge part of the loan amount of more than Rs 800 crore, which was sanctioned by a consortium of banks for the hotel project, was siphoned off by AHPL and Raj Singh Gehlot and his associates through a web of companies owned/controlled by them. A substantial part of the loan money was transferred by AHPL to several companies and individuals on the pretext of payment of running bills and advance for supply of material/work executed,” ED said in a statement on Friday.
“The employees of Ambience Group and the associates of Raj Singh Gehlot were made the Directors/Proprietors of these companies and Raj Singh Gehlot was the ‘authorized signatory’ in many of these companies. However, no material was supplied and no work was executed and almost the entire amount was immediately routed back to the entities owned by Raj Singh & Sons HUF and his brother’s son. Money was further siphoned off through multiple layers in a complex web of group entities,” ED added.
When contacted, Raj Singh Gehlot’s son Aman Gehlot, who runs AHPL, refused to comment.
The Leela Ambience hotel in east Delhi is a 480 room five-star property spread over an area of 20000 sq metres.