New Delhi/Lucknow, Sept. 11: Property worth Rs 144 crore face prohibitory orders in connection with the disproportionate assets case against associates of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda.
The order, issued by a special money laundering court in Delhi on Wednesday, involves 25 flats in posh neighbourhoods of Pune, Mumbai and Banglore, as well as a shopping mall in Jamshedpur, the industrial hub of Jharkhand. Many of the assets to be frozen belong to businessman Anil Bastawade, who was arrested from Indonesia earlier this year.
The court found that the said properties were involved in the offence of laundering under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“The above materials (prosecution evidence) and the submissions convinced me that prima facie all the properties provisionally attached are involved in money laundering and therefore liable for attachment. I, therefore, order for confirmation of the provisional attachment order in question,” K. Ramamoorthy, the chairman of the adjudicating authority of PMLA, said in his order.
Under provisions of the act, a retired judge of a high court is the chairman of the said authority.
The ED’s Lucknow zonal office had issued attachment orders on these assets in February this year. Armed with the court’s directive, it will now be able to issue prohibitory orders against them.
Bastawade’s flats are located in various upmarket locations in Pune such as Boat Club Road, Baner, Model Colony, Senapati Bapat Road and Aundh as well as another in Bangalore’s Hobli area.
Besides Bastawade, some of the attached assets belong to Manoj B. Punamiya, another Koda aide and accused in the case. Punamiya’s pelf list includes 10 flats in a single apartment complex in Mumbai’s Matunga suburbs and a few more in Malad, Goregaon and Nariman Point. He is also said to own the Rs 14.20-crore Emerald Mall in Jamshedpur.
The court, which is an appeal mechanism for forfeiture orders issued by the ED, observed that the fortune of Koda’s associates rose with his “political rise”.
“Before the financial year 2006-07, Manoj Punamiya, Arvind Vyas and Lalit Jain (other associates) were actually men of limited means and their meteoric rise coincided with the political rise of Madhu Koda,” the court said in its order.
The case was unearthed by multiple agencies in 2009. The income tax department and ED had claimed a Rs 2,500-crore scam of money laundering and illegal investments following countrywide raids on 70 premises on October 31 the same year.
ED sources had said the amount of the scam, which had allegedly taken place during Koda’s tenure as Jharkhand chief minister between 2006 and 2008, had gone up to Rs 3,400 crore in course of investigations and the amount excluded Bastawade’s assets, who was an absconder for a long time