The PMLA court rejected the plea of former GST officer-turned-actress, Kirti Verma, to travel abroad observing that she may dispose of proceeds of crime generated in the Rs263 crore TDS refund scam.
ED 's claims
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has claimed that the prime accused in the case, former Income Tax inspector, Tanaji Mandal Adhikari, in collusion with others, manipulated the system to generate the whopping TDS refunds. These ill-gotten funds were subsequently funnelled into various bank accounts, with M/s SB Enterprises, owned by Bhushan Anant Patil, one of the primary recipients. The ED alleged that Verma was connected with Patil.
Verma had approached the court, seeking permission to travel to Dubai from January 25-31 to earn her livelihood and further establish herself in the film industry. The plea was opposed by the prosecution saying that Tanaji has confessed that Rajesh Mathani was in contact with one Shaikh Al Mulla of Dubai. The proceeds of crime were diverted in shell companies and invested in the Dubai firms. The trail of money shows that monies were infused through hawala channels. Hence, ED claimed that there are likely chances that Verma will divert the money trail.
The central agency pointed out that previously Verma was asked to inform the investigation officer after her return to India. Thereafter, she travelled to Pattaya, Thailand and Nepal, but didn't inform the police. The court noted the instance and said that the ED's apprehension is justified. “The applicant appears to have taken everything granted and not following the direction given by the court scrupulously. If such conduct of the applicant is permitted, that would amount to the use of the process of the court for illegal activities in Dubai,” said the court.