A special anti-money laundering court here has ordered freezing of Rs 2.5 crore cash lying in a bank account of a real estate firm in connection with the 2012 alleged gold export scam worth Rs 464 crore in Metal and Scrap Trading Corporation (MSTC), a government PSU.
The court has issued orders acting on a complaint filed in this regard by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which had attached the said amount, lying in a private bank in Mumbai under the name of Ms Skylark Buildcon Pvt Ltd.
The ED had attached this bank amount in December last year in furtherance of its probe into the money laundering case against various individuals of the said firm and Ms Space Mercantile Co Pvt Ltd, involved in this case, after taking cognisance of a corruption case registered by the CBI.
“On a thorough perusal of the provisional attachment order, the FIR and the charge-sheet, the investigations conducted by the ED, and the statements recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, and on careful consideration of the arguments advanced on behalf of the complainant (ED) and defendants (Ms Skylark Buildcon Pvt Ltd)…come to the prima facie conclusion that the defendants have committed the scheduled offences, generated proceeds of crime and laundered them.
“No doubt, the properties attached are proceeds of crime or value thereof and are involved in money laundering,” the court of Adjudicating Authority of PMLA Mukesh Kumar said in its recent order.
The Authority is a judicial body to decide on cases of criminal enforcement action.
The gold export fraud scam pertains to the release, and thus loss, of Rs 464 crore of the MSTC by its officials after six export firms submitted forged and fake documents for the release of the amount.
The CBI had in 2012 arrested the then top MSTC officials, who, it said, knowing that documents were fake, accepted them and released the amount to the exporters causing a loss of Rs 464 crore to the company.
Directors of six export houses – Ushma Jewellery and Packaging Export Pvt Ltd, Space Mercantile Company Pvt Ltd, K A Malle Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, Joshi Bullion and Gems Jewellery Pvt Ltd, Bond Gems Pvt Ltd and Indo Bonito Multinational Pvt Ltd – submitted the forged documents to get 80 per cent of the export value released to them, the CBI had said.
The ED, in its investigation report in this regard said the amount of Rs 2.5 crore lying in the bank account “are proceeds of crime laundered by Ms Space Mercantile Co Pvt held in the said account”.