ED conducts fresh searches on Topsgrup premises

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted fresh searches on the premises linked with Topsgrup in their ongoing money-laundering case. The agency conducted searches at the Goregaon office of the group.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik’s son Vihang, who was slated to be questioned, did not appear before the agency on Friday. Vihang was questioned by the agency on Tuesday, the day when the agency conducted searches on the premises and offices of Sarnaik and Topsgrup. The ED has since summoned Vihang in connection with their ongoing probe. ED on Friday recorded the statement of an acquaintance of Sarnaik.

The ED arrested Thane resident Amit Chandole, 46, in the case involving alleged links with Sarnaik.

The anti-money laundering agency has alleged misappropriation and kickbacks received in the contract bagged by Topsgrup with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) .

According to ED, statement of Chandole has been recorded on Wednesday wherein he stated that he came into contact with Rahul Nanda, promoter and chairman of the group through Sarnaik who is his close friend.

The ED told the court that Chandole in his statement stated that there was a contract of Topsgrup with MMRDA in which he was sharing 50 percent of the profit arising out of the contract. The contract was providing security to MMRDA lands and that there was no return agreement regarding sharing of 50 percent profit and it was oral based on trust only, the said in statement.

The payment regarding 50 percent profit share was used to be made to him in cash which was used to be given by Niraj Bijlani, who is ex-CEO of Topsgrup, Chandole said in his statement adding that he also used to get payments in NEFT also; that the cash received from topsgroup used to be utilized towards household expenses.

The ED registered a case on the basis of the FIR registered with Yellow gate police station. As per the FIR filed by Ramesh Iyer from the Topsgrup, Nanda and other connected persons diverted huge funds from the account of Tops Group companies to various accounts in India and to accounts of overseas companies. As per the allegations, the company was defrauded to the tune of Rs 175 crore.

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