Tehelka promoter and former TMC Rajya Sabha MP KD Singh was on Wednesday arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case.
Singh’s arrest is related to Enforcement Directorate probe that was launched in September 2016 against him and a company (Ms Alchemist Infra Realty Limited) linked to him. A criminal case was filed against him under the PMLA, on the basis of a charge sheet lodged against the company, its directors and others by the market watchdog SEBI.
In a statement released by the ED in January 2019, the agency had stated that its probe revealed that the proceeds of the crime generated by Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd were routed through a web of shell companies.
The investigation also found that the funds sought by the firms from various investors were never used for the purpose for which they were mobilised and the same were transferred to the bank accounts of other companies which were nothing but shell companies. The siphoned off funds were later used to buy properties at various locations in India, the ED said.
Alchemist Group involved in running ponzi chit fund scheme without seeking approval from SEBI
The ED has also alleged that the company had launched an illegal collective investment scheme and mobilised funds of about Rs 1,916 crores from the public in the years preceding 2015. The firm had allegedly launched the scheme without seeking approval from the SEBI and thereby led to cheating of unsuspecting investors.
In 2015, the firm had informed the SEBI that it had refunded Rs 1,077 crores after the market watchdog probe and sought more time to return the rest of the amount. However, SEBI turned down its request and later filed a charge sheet in the case in March 2016.
KD Singh’s connection with beleaguered Tehelka magazine
It is noteworthy to mention that KD Singh was also associated with Tehelka magazine, whose editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal is mired in a sexual assault case. The case had come to fore in 2013 when one of the staffers of the organisations had levelled allegations of rape against Tejpal.
Soon after the allegations surfaced against Tarun Tejpal, Kanwar Deep Singh tried to distance himself with the organisation, stating that he had nothing to do with the firm and was just a promoter. At the time of the incident, Tehelka was owned by Anant Media Pvt Ltd., a subsidiary of the KDS Corporation, a company controlled by KD Singh.
However, according to details available, about 65.75% of the Anant Media Pvt Ltd was owned by Royal Building and Infrastructure Ltd, a company owned by KDS Corporation, which in turn was controlled by the then Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP and industrialist KD Singh. KDS Corporation owned 85% in the Royal Building and Infrastructure Ltd.
A year after the sexual assault allegations were levelled against Tarun Tejpal, KD Singh, in an interview with the Quartz in December 2014 said that he owned 70-80 per cent of the shares and reposed his faith in the magazine, stating that the firm can make a comeback and do the stories that it was known to pursue.
“I think it was a wise decision to stay by the magazine and believe that the magazine could get back on track and do the kind of hard-hitting stories that we have always done,” Singh had then said.