The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday conducted searches of secret lockers of a bullion company in connection with a money laundering case against Parekh Aluminex Ltd (PAL) over defrauding an Indian Overseas Bank-led consortium. The agency seized 431 kg of gold and silver worth over Rs 47 crore.
The federal financial crime investigation agency searched four premises of Mumbai-based Raksha Bullion and Classic Marbles. It seized 761 keys of secret private lockers of the bullion company. The searches led to three secret lockers of Raksha Bullion with 91.5 kg of gold bars and 152 kg of silver in two lockers. An additional 188 kg of silver was also seized from the premises of Raksha Bullion.
As per the ED’s statement after the searches, “The locker operation was being done without following proper norms. No KYC was followed, there was no CCTV camera installed, and no register was maintained to record entries of persons.”
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered several cases against PAL for defrauding the Indian Overseas Bank to the tune of Rs 297.8 crore and cheating the consortium of Rs 753 crore in loans.
The ED has alleged that the bank consortium was defrauded by layering the financials through various companies and routed to different accounts on the pretext of providing unsecured loans and investments.
In March 2018, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police had arrested three directors of PAL on the complaint of Axis Bank for wilful default in repaying loans.
PAL took short-term loans amounting to Rs 195 crore and Rs 45 crore between 2011 and 2013 towards purchase of its non-convertible debentures. Of Rs 195 crore, Rs 75 crore was availed through cash credit in May 2011, Rs 50 crore was availed through Letter of Credit (LoC) in May 2011 and Rs 70 crore was raised through a one-time LoC in January 2013. PAL allegedly duped the Federal Bank of Rs 50 crore, of which Rs 25 crore was invested by it in non-convertible debentures.