Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Thursday informed that the agency has provisionally attached 20 immovable properties worth Rs 166 crore, located in Mumbai, Pune and Ratnagiri, in connection with a case of bank fraud, in which Maharashtra-based M/s Varron group of Industries and others are accused of discounting Letters of Credit on the basis of forged bills.
ED had initiated the money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI against Late Shrikant Pandurang Sawaikar (Director of M/s Varron Industries) and unknown banking officials of Bank of India and Canara Bank under Prevention of Corruption Act.
Money laundering investigation by ED revealed that a criminal conspiracy hatched by S.P.Sawaikar, Director of M/s Varron Aluminium Pvt. Ltd. (VAPL), the prime accused and his accomplices to cheat Bank of India by inducing it to discount 246 forged bills backed by the Letter of Credit (LC) of around Rs 300 Crore opened by Canara Bank, Deccan Gymkhana Branch, Pune on behalf of M/s Varron Aluminium Pvt Ltd (VAPL).
Bank of India negotiated and discounted the amount of the said bills in account of VAPL after deducting its charges. An amount of Rs. 293 Crore was credited in the account of beneficiary M/s VAPL on the basis of false assurances and forged documents. Further, part of said loans was diverted and later on due date, Canara Bank denied the issuance of the relevant LC’s. Bank of India did not get the amount on due date and hence suffered a wrongful loss of Rs. 293 Crore.
Investigation further revealed that said money was layered multiple times through group companies and various shell entities floated by Late S P Sawaikar and his accomplices.During further investigation it was found that said proceeds of crime is eventually used for purchasing immovable properties including residential flats, land and part of it is used in group companies of Varron Group,i.e M/s Varron Aluminium Pvt Ltd., M/s Varron Auto Comp Pvt Ltd and M/s Varron Industries Pvt Ltd. Accordingly, ED has provisionally attached these properties worth of Rs. 166 under PMLA, 2002.