Cox And Kings Case: Romi Bhagat Helped Peter Kerker Dissipate Proceeds Of Crime, Says ED

Cox And Kings Case: Romi Bhagat Helped Peter Kerker Dissipate Proceeds Of Crime, Says ED

The ED had arrested Bhagat last week in connection with a money laundering case. The agency claimed that Rs 954 crore out of the total loans of Rs 1645 crore obtained from Yes Bank had been siphoned to overseas entities.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 10:34 PM IST
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Peter Kerker |

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has claimed that extortionist Hiren Bhagat alias Romi Bhagat had helped Cox and King promoter Peter Kerker dissipate the proceeds of crime. The ED had arrested Bhagat last week in connection with a money laundering case. The agency claimed that Rs 954 crore out of the total loans of Rs 1,645 crore obtained from Yes Bank had been siphoned to overseas entities.

The ED has been probing the money laundering allegations in Cox and Kings case, wherein they took Bhagat's custody after Kerker's father alleged that Bhagat extorted around Rs10 crore from him at gun point. The ED claimed that Rs10 crore paid to Bhagat was nothing but proceeds of crime.

The ED on Thursday obtained further custody of Bhagat till March 27. In its plea for further custody, the ED contended, “Wider conspiracy to derail the investigation and dissipate the proceeds of crime (PoC) was hatched between Kerker and Bhagat.”

The ED further said, “There was movement of money suspected to be PoC from a foreign-based entity controlled by Kerker to Bhagat and flow of money from accounts of Kerker and other accused persons to entities believed to be associated with Bhagat.

The agency said, “Two facts of forging of address to get the FIR lodged and the receipt of Rs35 lakh and Rs36 lakh on October 1, 2020 and on October 5, 2020 in the account held by M/S Illuminati Services controlled by Bhagat from entities controlled by Kerker prima facie indicates a quid pro quo arrangement between Kerker and Bhagat.”

Besides, the agency claimed that the fact that Kerker controls an overseas company from which Bhagat received funds and substantial assets were never revealed by him during his various statements recorded before the ED. Thus, the PoC of the Cox and King group cases was being dissipated by Kerker and Bhagat for obstructing the recovery of PoC in the money laundering case of Cox and King.

It further added that, "The payment being made from an entity based in USA and not in India was an intentional act on the part of Kerker so that investigating agencies including the Directorate of Enforcement cannot uncover the money trail easily as well as to conceal the conspiracy to forge the address and lodged the FIR on misrepresented facts."

Bhagat in his statement given to ED during his ED custody has claimed that Kerker met him in 2019, to get a case registered as Kerker being a complainant.

ED claimed that Bhagat in his statement has stated that he helped Kerker in preparing the concept and drafting of the application to lodge the FIR along with the legal team of Kerker.

He also revealed that he arranged for renting a premise located in the area falling under Nagpada police station jurisdiction. The purpose of renting the premise was to manage the jurisdiction of the FIR.

Bhagat further revealed in his statement that the Nagpada police station was favourable to them and that getting the FIRs lodged on the directions of the court added a kind of prima facie approval to the genuineness of the case.

The rented premise was shown as the office address of Cox & Kings Company which helped in justifying the registering the FIR under Nagpada police station which was perceived to be favourable to them.

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