Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at five premises belonging to the Viva Group and its associates, in connection with the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank scam case and recovered incriminating digital evidence and documents. The group is linked to Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) president and MLA Hirendra Thakur and his family.
“The ED conducted searches at the five premises belonging to the Viva Group and its associates. The premises included the registered office of Viva Group in Virar, the residential premises of the concerned person of the Viva Group in Virar, one associated office premises of the Viva Group in Andheri and two residential premises of two financial consultants of the Viva Group in Juhu and Chembur respectively. During the search, Rs 73 lakh cash, incriminating digital and documentary evidence have been recovered,” the agency said, after the search.
The anti-money laundering agency had initiated investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, (PMLA) against Housing Development Infrastructures Ltd. (HDIL), Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, Sarang Wadhawan, Waryam Singh and Joy Thomas, the chairman and managing director of PMC Bank Ltd and others, on the basis of an FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police for causing wrongful loss, prima facie to the tune of Rs 4, 355 crore to PMC Bank and corresponding gain to themselves. Several properties of Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and the Wadhawan Family Trust and others, totally valued at Rs 293 crore were also attached and jewelry worth Rs 63 crore was seized earlier, the ED stated.
A prosecution complaint or charge sheet has been filed against Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan and others under PMLA. “Investigation also revealed that the Wadhawans of HDIL, in connivance with the Viva Group, have diverted more than Rs 160 crore from HDIL to many companies/entities belonging to the Viva Group in the garb of commission. The source of these funds from HDIL to the Viva Group is apparently illegal fund diversion from the PMC Bank,” the agency stated.
The ED has also initiated investigation in another case against Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan, promoters of HDIL, and others, for siphoning off a loan of Rs 200 crore sanctioned by Yes Bank to one Mack Star Marketing Pvt. Ltd. This loan was siphoned by the Wadhawans, showing it for fictitious purposes, the ED investigations revealed.
In the matter, the CBI's anti-corruption bureau, Mumbai, had registered an FIR. “During investigation under PMLA, it is revealed that the Wadhawans illegally and fraudulently transferred two commercial properties of Mack Star in Kaledonia building, Andheri East, Mumbai, valued at Rs 34.36 crore to M/s Viva Holding, a company of Viva Group. For the transfer of the said two properties, two separate sale agreements dated 26.06.2017 were prepared wherein sale value for both the subject commercial properties were shown as Rs 34.36 crore in total. In the said sale agreements, the purchase amount was shown to be paid vide 37 cheques by Viva Holding to Mack Star Marketing Pvt. Ltd. against the purchase of the said properties. Investigation has revealed that these cheques were never encashed in the account of Mack Star and Viva Holding never made payments for the purchase of the said property to Mack Star. Wadhawans had illegally transferred these properties to the Viva Group in violation of the article of association of Mackstar. Further, Viva Holding never showed these properties in its balance sheets,” the ED stated. “All the transactions have been conducted in cheque and we are co-operating with the investigations,” MLA Hitendra Thakur told The Free Press Journal. “There is no fraud, as we have been accepting payment in cheques and no cash is involved,” he said.