Assets worth ₹410 crore attached in bank fraud case | Mumbai news

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth 410 crore belonging to the promoters of real estate group Omkar Developers, Babulal Varma, Kamal Kishore Gupta, and actor-producer Sachiin Joshi under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a loan fraud case.

The attached assets include the real estate group’s flats worth 330 crore in Tower C of sale building namely Omkar 1973 in Central Mumbai’s Worli area and a land worth 80 crore in Viram, Pune belonging to actor Joshi’s company. Joshi is son of Gutkha baron JM Joshi.

The money laundering case against developers and Joshi is based on the FIR registered by Aurangabad Police in March 2020 for alleged cheating and criminal breach of trust.

The anti-money laundering agency had in January 2021 arrested Babulal Varma, Managing Director of ORDPL, Kamal Kishore, chairman of ORDPL and later Joshi. A prosecution complaint has also been filed on March 26, 2021 before the session court, Mumbai.

In September 2021, the Supreme Court (SC) had granted temporary bail to actor Joshi. During the probe, ED investigators have found that the loan amount of 410 crore was fraudulently acquired by Surana Developers Wadala, LLP, a sister concern of ORDPL through falsely increased slum dwellers numbers and FSI (Floor Space Index).

“Out of 410 crore, an amount of 330 crore was laundered into the sale building of Omkar Group and an amount of 80 crore approximately was laundered through Sachin Joshi and his Viiking Group of companies under the guise of services and investment,” ED has stated in a statement released on Saturday.

Later, agency’s investigations revealed that Joshi helped Omkar Group promoters in diversion of at least 87 crore. ED has also said that Joshi received funds from various firms of Omkar Group, a part of which was shown as an investment and the rest as received against rendering of services.

When questioned about funds received as investment, Joshi during his ED custody had said that the same was sent for development of land near Pune.

It is surprising that an amount of 48 crore is shown as an investment, but except for a simple term sheet dated March 15, 2019, no definite agreement is made, ED had observed.

On analysing the actual utilisation of the funds, it shows that the said funds were utilised for various purposes such as repayment of loans, various expenses etc. However, no expense is seen to be incurred towards the stated purpose of investment,” ED earlier stated in their remand application.

Investigation of the funds received against various invoices showed it was done so to facilitate settlement of ineligible tenants and possession of constructed rehabilitation units, help in getting consents from society, slum dwellers, committee members, brokerage towards land deal, etc.

However, when Joshi was asked about whether any such services were actually rendered, he said no slum rehabilitation work was done by him. He, however, added that he was involved in facilitation with Omkar Group, where Omkar Group was to use his name and brand name in order to rehabilitate the tenants or settle with the tenants.

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