Mumbai,UPDATED: Aug 19, 2023 20:35 IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at thirteen locations across Maharashtra in connection with three cases of bank fraud against former NCP Rajya Sabha MP Ishwarlal Jain. The searches began on Thursday and went on till Friday evening on premises linked to Jain, who sources said is a close aide of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Ishwarlal Jain was also the former treasurer of the party.
The searches by the probe agency were carried out in Jalgaon, Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Nagpur and a few other locations.
The ED’s case against Jain is based on three FIRs registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2022 against jewellery companies linked to Ishwarlal Jain and others. Theses FIRs were filed on the basis of complaints filed by the State Bank of India against Rajmal Lakhichand Jewellers Pvt Ltd, RL Gold Pvt Ltd, and Manraj Jewellers Pvt Ltd, and their promoters, directors and guarantors – Ishwarlal Shankarlal Jain Lalwani, Manish Ishwarlal Jain Lalwani, Pushadevi Ishwarlal Jain Lalwani and Neetika Manish Jain Lalwani who were named as accused.
According to the complaint filed with the CBI, Rajmal Lakhichand Jewellers caused a loss of Rs 206.73 crore to the bank, RL Gold caused a Rs 69.19 crore loss and Manraj Jewellers a Rs 76.57 crore loss.
The accused promoters allegedly sold properties that had been mortgaged with the bank for the loans they had borrowed. The accused had misused the credit facilities of the bank and then used the money for purposes other than what they had mentioned while borrowing the money. This has led to a money laundering case being registered against the accused.
WHAT PROBE AGENCY RECOVERED DURING RAIDS
The Enforcement Directorate seized a large amount of incriminating documents. Apart from this, the ED said it has seized “proceeds of crime” consisting of 39.33 kg of gold and diamond jewellery valued at Rs 24.7 crore and cash amount of Rs 1.11 crore.
The ED investigation has revealed that the promoters of the three accused companies, had colluded together and engaged in fictitious transactions, and fabrication of the Books of Accounts of three accused firms and their related entities.
The probe agency observed the following discrepancies:
- Bogus sale-purchase transactions had been shown in the books of accounts with the main holding company. Large amount of stock in trade was found to be completely missing. Against a declared stock of more than 1,284 kg of jewellery, the Enforcement Directorate could trace only around 40 kg of jewellery. Thus, loans taken against this declared stock was siphoned off by showing bogus purchases for non-existent jewellery.
- The promoters failed to produce any supportive document to prove genuine utilization of the loans by the three accused companies. “In fact, they admitted that purposefully, no books of accounts, ledgers, stock registers, invoices or any supportive documents were maintained for the period FY 2003-2014 (loan disbursement period),” the Enforcement Directorate said.
- Fictitious entity with relatives as dummy directors were created to apply for new loans fraudulently.
- Loans were routed through a convoluted web of bogus sale purchase transactions through related parties of Rajmal Lakhichand Group and finally invested in immovable properties by the promoters. New jewellery business in the name of R L Enterprises and new investments were done in real estate sector, car dealership, setting up a hospital.
- Suspicious documents have been recovered from the mobile phones which indicate FDI proposal of 50 million Euro from Luxemberg-based entity in the real estate Company controlled by Manish Jain.
- Details of 60 properties belonging to Rajmal Lakhichand Group have been gathered during the search proceedings valued at more than Rs 50 crore, apart from 2 benami properties owned by Rajmal Lakhichand Manish Jain located in areas of Jamner, Jalgaon, and surrounding areas.
Further investigation in the case is underway.