ED attaches assets of Surat bullion trader in DeMo PMLA case

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New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) The ED has attached assets worth Rs 1.12 crore of a Surat-based bullion trader in a money-laundering probe against him and others linked to the 2016 demonetisation of two currency notes, the agency said on Thursday.

A 97.85-sq.mtr flat in the Gyandeep cooperative housing society and a 1,800 sq.feet shop in Gujarat's diamond town of Surat, valued at Rs 94.12 lakh in total, and a fixed deposit of Rs 18 lakh of a firm -- Shah Maganlal Gulabchand Choksi -- have been provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said.

The company is promoted by bullion trader Hemanshu R Shah.

The total value of the attached properties is Rs 1.12 crore.

The ED, in a statement, said the case came to light after Shah, while operating the bank account of Nirav & Co. (held in the Surat People's Cooperative Bank) deposited demonetised currency notes to the extent of Rs 36.17 crore in 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared demonetisation of the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes on November 8, 2016.

'Immediately after the deposits were made, an amount of Rs 34.82 crore was transferred to the account of his firm (Shah Maganlal Gulabchand Choksi),' the ED alleged.

It said 'fake' bills of bullion sales were prepared to facilitate this money transfer.

'Accused Shah, in connivance with Maharshi Chokkas, used the photo and identity proof of one Nirav Rashmikant Shah of Ms Nirav & Co. and illegally utilised the bank account for depositing the demonetised notes to the extent of Rs 36.17 crore and channelised unaccounted black money into the banking system,' the agency alleged.

The ED has booked Shah, Chokkas and unidentified officials of the Surat People's Cooperative Bank after studying a CBI FIR lodged against them on the basis of an Income-Tax department investigation. PTI NES RC