ED attaches over Rs 1.02 cr assets of Surat trader Bhajiawala

Surat: The ED has attached over Rs 1.02crore cash in new notes in connection with its money laundering probe against city-based financer Kishore Bhajiawala and his family.

The agency said it has issued orders for provisional attachment of “Rs 1,02,16,000 funds, seized by the Income Tax department, in the case of Kishore Bhajiawala in post demonetisation frauds” under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a criminal FIR against Bhajiawala and his sons Jignesh and Vilas based on a CBI FIR against him, which was registered after the Income Tax department first conducted searches and seized gold and cash from his premises as part of their operation in December last year to check blackmoney post the notes ban.

The ED had alleged that the “Bhajiawala family has converted a huge amount of their unaccounted money, post demonetisation, into new high denomination currency and other valuables through collusion with bank officials and private persons by impersonating, forgery and by using forged documents.

“An amount of over Rs 1.02 crore in new currency was seized by the I-T department from his premises during searches at his home, shop and bank lockers held by them. It was also found that the accused had hired several bank lockers in benami names to stash their unaccounted assets,” the agency had said. Jignesh was also arrested by the ED in January this year.

The I-T department had recovered Rs 1.45 crore cash, with about Rs 1.05 crore in new currency notes, bullion worth Rs 1.49 crore, gold jewellery valued at Rs 4.92 crore, other ornaments worth Rs 1.39 crore and silver ingots priced at Rs 1.28 crore after raids on the premises of the Bhajiawalas’. An attachment order under PMLA is aimed to deprive the accussed from obtaining benefits of their ill-goten wealth and such an order can be appealed before the Adjudicating Authority of the said Act within 180 days time.