In a bid to tackle alleged illegal properties abroad, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized shares worth Rs1.19 crores of businessman Sunil Kumar in a case related to the cheating of foreign nationals in Goa.
The ED identified illegal foreign holdings amounting to the contravention of provisions under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA). The ED is empowered to seize equivalent assets in India under Section 37-A of FEMA. “ED has seized shares worth Rs 1.19 crore held by Kumar in M/s Sanatan Financers and Real Estates Private Limited for holding two immovable properties at Saint Lukes Court, Perry Close, Stoke-on-Trent and at Ivy House Road, Stoke-on-Trent, both at United Kingdom worth 1,26,000 British Pounds in contravention of Section 4 of FEMA,” the agency said on Thursday. Investigating agencies have been scanning undisclosed foreign assets as part of their measure to check black money.
The seizure order of the assets under the provisions of FEMA was issued on the basis of the recovery of documents during search under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in the office premises of the firm in January this year.
“Further investigation revealed that Kumar has been illegally holding two immovable properties in his name in the UK and the same were acquired and held outside India in the contravention of section 4 of FEMA. Accordingly, the equivalent value of the properties of Kumar, which are shares held by him are seized,” ED stated.
The case, under PMLA, was based on a Goa Police FIR against the firm for cheating foreign nationals by illegally collecting funds from them in the guise of selling property. In this case, accused Ankit Kumar, son Sunil Kumar was arrested by ED for his involvement.
During the course of the investigation under PMLA, it was revealed that the accused had collected money from foreign nationals through the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route in the accounts of their various shell companies, including M/s Sanatan Financers and Real Estates Private Limited. These gullible foreign nationals were induced to invest in the companies formed by accused Ankit Kumar and Sunil Kumar, towards purchase of flats/villas.
However, the ownership of said flats/villas was never transferred to foreign nationals. In this manner, during the period from 2006 to 2011, the accused had received ₹7.73 crore by duping the foreign nationals and acquired 16 villas worth ₹2.56 crore and 56 flats in Goa worth ₹5.17 crore.