Court issues NBWs against 4 in money laundering case worth over Rs 1 lakh crore

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New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) A Delhi court on Monday issued non-bailable warrants against four accused in a money laundering case in which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had earlier arrested alleged hawala dealer Naresh Jain.

The case is linked to dubious transactions of worth over Rs 1 lakh crore made using over 550 shell firms over the last few years.

The court issued NBWs against Bimal Kumar Jain, Puneet Jain, Harish Aggarwal and Kuldeep Singh after the agency said that they are absconding.

Additional Sessions Judge Kiran Gupta passed the directions while taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed by the ED in the case.

The court also issued production warrant against Naresh Jain, who was arrested on September 1 and is currently in judicial custody.

The court will further hear the matter on December 2.

'There is prima facie sufficient incriminating material about the involvement of the accused persons,' the court said while taking cognisance of the charge sheet.

The court said,'Since, the IO (investigating officer) has placed sufficient material on record that the accused no. 2 to 5 are absconding and cannot be served by ordinary process and prays for NBWs against them, accordingly, NBWs be issued against accused no. 2 to 5.' It also issued summons against M/s Graphic Buildcon Pvt Ltd and M/s Arrow Buildtech Pvt Ltd.

The court was told by the ED, represented by special public prosecutor N K Matta, that 'Naresh Jain, along with the co-accused persons and his employees incorporated and operated 450 Indian entities and 104 foreign entities, using identity proofs and documents of dummy shareholders and directors for opening the bank accounts.' 'He has various offices and properties, which he has purchased from the proceeds of crime. As per the investigation, till date, the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 565,11,22,269 was generated in this case has been detected till date,' the ED told the court. 'The said proceeds of crime were placed as untainted funds in companies controlled by accused Naresh Jain,' the agency said.

It said the layering was done by rotating the proceeds of crime in various companies and then the same was integrated by buying properties.

It further submitted that after the arrest of the accused, Naresh Jain, the other four accused, who were his accomplices and actively involved in the offence, are absconding. 'They initially joined the investigation. Their statements were duly recorded, however, they have deliberately given fake addresses even in their statements recorded in the month of August 2020. The summons have been issued to four accused on various occasions, but they have neither joined the investigation nor are available on the addresses provided by them in their statements recorded during investigation,” the ED said.

The agency is probing Naresh Jain and his associates as part of two money laundering cases that are based on a Delhi Police economic offences wing (EOW) FIR of 2018 and a criminal complaint of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in 2009.

The latest arrest of the Delhi-based businessman was in connection with the police EOW FIR filed on charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy that was registered on the basis of a complaint sent by the ED to it.

A number of fake documents, mark sheets, birth certificates, PAN cards and voter ID cards were also recovered by the agency on the basis of which the dubious bank accounts and shell firms were being allegedly operated, the ED said.

Naresh Jain has been under the scanner of probe agencies for long and in 2016, the ED had slapped a Rs 1,200-crore notice on him for alleged contravention of the Forex law.

According to the agencies, Naresh Jain has allegedly laundered and routed hawala funds for years, financed contraband networks and this was the reason he was also arrested by the NCB in the past.

The serious organised crime agency (SOCA) of the UK has also given a report on Naresh Jain and his associates' alleged money laundering activities to India in 2009 when he was based in Dubai.

The Dubai Police had also arrested him with nine others in February, 2007 on charges of similar crimes and he later got bail.

ED officials said that Naresh Jain fled from Dubai in 2009 and he had two Interpol-issued global arrest warrants against him at that time. PTI UK ANB ANB