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ED attaches 6170 vehicles worth ₹1610 crore from logistics firm in a bank fraud case

Bank of Maharashtra had sanctioned huge sums of money for the purchase of vehicles, which was diverted to shell companies

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached the movable properties worth Rs 1609.78 crores belonging to M/S Siddhi Vinayak Logistics Ltd (SVLL), Mumbai, in a bank fraud case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. The official Twitter handle of ED informed that 6170 road vehicles have been attached by the agency.

In 2016, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case of cheating against Roopchand Baid, the owner of SVLL, and others. In April 2017, Baid was sent to ED custody on the charges of aiding the laundering of the money taken on loan from Bank of Maharashtra on account of helping truck drivers in the name of a scheme called ‘Chalak se Malak’. This scheme was supposed to help the drivers their own vehicles, and the SVLL had signed tripartite agreements with the bank and drivers.

According to this scheme, Bank of Maharashtra had sanctioned huge sums of money for the purchase of vehicles. But later Baid had diverted the money as his shell companies were listed as vendors of vehicles in the agreements. This was done on the basis of forged documents, including vehicle registration.

Canara Bank and Bank of India had also reportedly lodged a criminal complaint against SVLL before the CBI for a loan amount of Rs 600 crore. However, ED concentrated only on the Bank of Maharashtra case waiting for the CBI to file its first prosecution complaint against SVLL.

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Launch of the fraudulent Chalak se Malak scheme by SVLL

In the preliminary investigation conducted by the ED under PMLA, it was found that SVLL had created various dubious companies or fake automobile vendors for getting loans from banks. The SVLL provided the list of the names of fake vendors to Bank of Maharashtra to get the loan amount disbursed to them in the name of purchasing vehicles. The loan amount so disbursed went to the accounts of fake vendors and was later diverted to SVLL. In some cases, names of real vehicle dealers were provided and the bank had issued the loan in the name of such dealers. But later the company had cancelled the orders got the amount refunded into SVLL account from the dealers.

During the meetings with the Bank authorities, Baid would misrepresent to them that the money was being utilised for the intended purpose while actually the actually it was deposited into SVLL bank accounts via the bank accounts of the vendors.

The CBI submitted the charge sheet against the SVLL and 20 others in February 2018. The charge sheet contained the names of Roopchand Baid, and his three family members, Deepak, Raj and Laxmi and the companies associated with them.

Earlier, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 19.62 crore from the company in the same case in 2017. This included several real estate properties, luxury cars and bank balances.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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