New Delhi: The ED Friday said it has attached assets worth more than Rs 6 crore of “beneficiaries” such as Nalini Chidambaram, wife of Congress leader P Chidambaram, former CPM MLA Debendranath Biswas and a company “owned” by former Assam minister, the late Anjan Dutta, in the Saradha money laundering case.
A provisional order for attaching movable properties worth Rs 3.3 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 3 crore has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the federal agency said in a statement.
These properties were owned by the Saradha Group and other people, who were beneficiaries of “proceeds of crime” generated by the group, it said.
The ED said the “beneficiaries” include Nalini Chidambaram, Debabrata Sarkar (an official of the East Bengal Club), Debendranath Biswas (a former IPS officer and ex-CPM MLA) and Anubhuti Printers and Publications “owned” by Dutta, who was a president of the Congress’ Assam unit.
Nalini Chidambaram’s role in the case was allegedly linked to the payment of a legal fee of Rs 1.26 crore by the Saradha Group for her appearances in court and the Company Law Board over a television channel purchase deal, the ED had said earlier.
Dutta was considered a close confidante of late Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and he was a minister in his cabinet, handling several departments, including transport.
He was appointed APCC (Assam Pradesh Congress Committee) president in December 2014 and he held the post till his death in 2016.
The money laundering case pertains to an alleged chit fund scam perpetrated by the Saradha Group in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha till 2013.
The group is alleged to have cheated thousands of depositors, promising abnormally high returns on investments in its illegal schemes.
The anti-money laundering agency filed a criminal case in 2013 after studying Kolkata Police FIRs against the group and its promoters.
“The quantum of total money mobilised by this group company is about Rs 2,459 crore out of which nearly Rs 1,983 crore remains unpaid to the depositors till date, excluding the interest amount,” the ED said.
Assets worth about Rs 600 crore have been attached by the ED in this case till now.
An attachment under the PMLA is aimed to deprive the accused from obtaining benefits of ill-gotten wealth and such an order can be appealed before the Adjudicating Authority of the Act within 180 days.
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