The Enforcement Directorate probing the money laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), against former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and incumbent Punjab MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, has summoned top fashion designers Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra for questioning.
According to reports, the three fashion designers have been sent notices to appear before the central probe agency in Delhi later this week.
A few weeks ago, Sukhpal Singh Khaira had quit AAP to join Congress.
Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira made cash payments, running in lakhs, to the designers
The Punjab Congress MLA had allegedly paid lakhs of rupees in cash to the three fashion designers, ED sources have said. This was uncovered when the ED was probing the money-laundering case against the now Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
The documents collected by the ED show that these designers had designed clothes for a wedding organised by the MLA a few years ago. The payment for the designer garments, reportedly running in lakhs, was paid to these designers by Sukhpal Singh Khaira in cash, which is in violation of Income tax laws.
Designers and the Congress MLA would be soon booked for IT fraud
Since the designers, as well as the MLA, has been found guilty of violating India’s income tax laws, sources in the Enforcement Directorate reportedly confirmed that a case of income tax fraud will soon be registered against these designers and the Punjab MLA.
For the uninitiated, Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra are highly sought after celebrity designers who have designed clothes for many Bollywood celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, to name a few.
According to reports, after the ED is done questioning these personalities, the income tax department will carry on with its own investigation in the case.
The names of these celebrity designers surfaced when the Enforcement Directorate was probing the PMLA case linked to narcotics trafficking and fake passports against the rebel AAP leader, Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
ED raids properties of Punjab MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira
OpIndia reported on March 9, that the Enforcement Directorate had conducted raids on the properties of Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with the money laundering case.
Khaira was a rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA when the raids were carried out. He has recently re-joined Congress.
As per reports, the searches were conducted at five locations in Punjab, two locations in Delhi and one location in Chandigarh. ED officials arrived at Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s house in Sector-5 Chandigarh on Tuesday (March 9th) morning and searched his property. His ancestral house in Kapurthala was also raided.
The Enforcement Directorate had also interrogated his cousin brother cum treasurer, Kulbir Singh.
Meanwhile, Khaira has pleaded innocence and said that he has no role in the money laundering case.
Khaira was the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly during his stint with the AAP. In 2019, he started his own Punjab Ekta party and won 2 seats in the State Assembly. He has also been a vocal critic of the new farm laws that have been enacted by the Union Government to help farmers get a fair price for their produce. Khaira’s lawyer has now alleged that he is being targeted for being a ‘supporter of farmers’.