The Law Enforcement (ED) Directorate said on Tuesday it had tied down 67 wind turbines worth more than ₹51 crore in a money laundering investigation against Chennai-based Surana Group linked to an alleged ₹3,986 crores in bank loan fraud.
The federal agency issued an interim order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to tie up the windmills.
The action was taken after it was found “that 67 Surana Group windmills, which were being auctioned off by banks to recover their rights, were again purchased in the name of a Benami company”. Windmills and the land they stand on are worth a total ₹51.69 crores, the agency said in a statement.
He did not, however, specify where these windmills are located.
Another set of properties valued at ₹61.63 crore of Ramlal Jain, who ‘merged’ the proceeds of crime into his usual business, was also attached under the same order, he said.
The total seizure value of goods under this order is ₹113.32 crore, he said.
The ED, last month, had arrested four people in this case including two promoters of Surana Group and two alleged directors of front companies.
Among them were Dinesh Chand Surana and Vijay Raj Surana, both managing directors and promoters of Surana Industries Limited, Surana Power Ltd and Surana Corporation Ltd and P Anand and I Prabhakaran, dummy directors of front companies.
They are currently in custody.
The money laundering investigation stems from three CBI FIRs filed against the accused in 2020 which alleged that these three companies, along with their promoters, directors and unknown persons, engaged in embezzlement and breach of trust criminals, manipulating books of accounts through shell entities, and funneling funds through shell (shell) companies.
The CBI complaint accused the defendants of embezzling funds from company accounts for personal gain, causing losses to the tune of ₹3,986 crores to public sector banks.
The Surana group specializes in the manufacture and sale of gold jewelry.
The ED alleged that the defendant “created a network of shell companies and that the shell directors of these shell companies were either relatives/people from the ancestral village of the Surana family or employees of the Surana group of companies”. “The transactions of the three main group companies were routed through these shell / shell companies and subsequently the funds were diverted for other purposes including the purchase of overlay properties and also obtained benami properties in the name of these shell companies,” the agency alleged.
The Surana group of companies/developers incorporated several companies in the Cayman Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands in the name of “dummy” directors and siphoned off money to park in these companies through four companies “fictitious” located in Singapore, he said.