Mumbai: Omkar Group’s incharge of slum clearance said never heard of any association with Sachiin Joshi: ED

While seeking custody for seven days of actor and businessman Sachiin Joshi, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case of money laundering in connivance with Omkar Group, the agency informed the court, on Monday, that an employee of the Omkar Group involved in Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) work has said that he had never heard of any association with Joshi or his firm.

This assumes significance, as Joshi had told the ED that his brand name was used by Omkar Group for SRA services such as evacuation. He had said Omkar Group had made payments of Rs. 39 crores to him and his Viking Group companies for SRA settlement purposes. The ED said this shows money was layered and siphoned off in the name of rendering services.

Joshi had been produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court at 1pm when his four-day extended custody with the ED had ended. The agency told the court that Mayank Srivastava, who has been assisting Omkar Group in slum evacuation work since 2013, had told it during questioning that he has never used Joshi’s or his company’s name in any evacuation work. Furthermore, no one had discussed Joshi or his company’s name with him.

Appearing for Joshi, his advocates Abad Ponda and Subhash Jadhav argued that Joshi has no connection with Omkar Group, which is said to have borrowed from Yes Bank. Further, they argued that Joshi has paid taxes on the amounts received from Omkar Group and it is accounted money.

Special PMLA judge Abhijeet A Nandgaonkar said, in his order, that sufficient custody of eight days has already been given to the ED and that investigation can be made by using documents secured and statements recorded and that further custody is not required. The court remanded Joshi in judicial custody.

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