Initiating its first action under money laundering laws in the coal-blocks allocation scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) today attached assets worth Rs 24.50 crore of two different companies — one owned by Congress MP Vijay Darda and the other by a Nagpur-based business associate of his.
The agency issued orders for attaching shares of M/s Asera Banka Power Pvt Ltd and JAS Infrastructure and Power Ltd under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after it had registered a separate case in this regard taking cognisance of a CBI FIR last year, said an official release.
While the first company is owned by Vijay Darda and his son Devendra, the second firm is a group company of his Nagpur- based associate Manoj Jayaswal.
The case pertains to the allocation of coal blocks in the Bander area of Maharashtra.
“The attachment is done under PMLA after the charge sheet filed by CBI in case of M/s AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, Manoj Jayaswal Director of M/s AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd in criminal conspiracy with Vijay Darda, MP (Rajya Sabha) and Devendra Darda, MD of Lokmat Media Pvt Ltd have cheated Ministry of Coal by dishonestly obtaining allocation of Bander coal block,” the release said citing the CBI charge sheet filed earlier this year.
“Further, in pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy, Manoj Jayaswal had paid to M/s Asera Banka Power Pvt Ltd an amount Rs 24.6 crore for exercising personal influence.
Jayaswal, Vijay Darda, Devendra Darda and M/s AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd had committed offences punishable under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of IPC and section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the ED said.
The ED order said the attached assets pertain to shares of JAS Infrastructure and fixed deposits of over Rs 33.78 lakh held by M/s Asera Banka Pvt Ltd and the total value of the seized deposits stands at Rs 24.50 crore.
The ED alleged these illegal funds were routed through various Kolkata-based companies which, in a layered manner, landed in the accounts of M/s Asera Banka Pvt Ltd.
This amount, the agency said, was the “proceeds of crime” which were used “in the purchase of shares of JAS Infrastructure and Power Ltd.” CBI had earlier claimed that Jayaswal, the Director of Nagpur-based AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, had allegedly conspired with Darda and his son Devendra to cheat the Coal Ministry in obtaining coal blocks.
The agency had arraigned Jayaswal, Darda and Devendra as accused in the charge sheet along with the firm AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.