New Delhi: A man acquainted with accounting practices was today sent to seven days in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody by a Delhi court in connection with the agency’s money laundering probe into the case of alleged illegal conversion of demonetised notes involving officials of an Axis Bank branch here.
Additional Sessions Judge Vimal Kumar Yadav allowed ED’s plea for seven-day custody of Rajeev Kumar Kushwaha, alleged to be the mastermind, to ascertain trail of laundered money.
“As the material shown to court indicates the allegationsare serious, the custody of the accused to ED is granted till December 15,” the judge said.
Initially, Kushwaha was produced before a District Judge who marked it to the sessions judge.
Special Public Prosecutor Vikas Garg, appearing for ED, sought custody of the accused saying he was the main conduit in getting the demonetised currency converted into gold.
He said the probe is at a crucial stage and recoveries are to be made from Kushwaha and other beneficiaries of the case.
Garg argued that one gold brick has already been recovered from Axis Bank manager Shobit Sinha, who along with another bank official Vineet Gupta is already in ED custody, and some more gold bricks and recoveries are yet to be made in the case.
During the hearing, the court asked if the accused was depositing money in his bank account, what was the illegality in it?
To this, the prosecutor said the accused was laundering proceeds of crime in several front companies and they were trying to scuttle the whole demonetisation process.
Kushwaha, whom the agency called the “mastermind” behind floating of shell companies, is the third person to be arrested in connection with this money laundering probe of alleged illegal conversion of demonetised notes in connivance with bank officials.
The agency had on December 4 arrested two Axis Bank managers, working at the Kashmere Gate branch here, in the same case. While 32-year-old Sinha was the Branch Manager, 33-year-old Gupta was the manager (operations), both of whom have been suspended by the bank and are in ED custody till December 12.
The probe agency has claimed that Kushwaha “used the identity documents of various persons to form shell companies” through which cash deposits worth Rs 39 crore were made between November 10 and November 22 in “close connivance” with two managers of the bank.
Kushwaha, arrested under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), “was to get 10-15 per cent of the amount so transacted through these bank accounts as commission” as part of the deal struck between the accused.
The prosecutor had earlier told the court that around 15 persons were involved in the matter.