Furthering its money laundering probe into the Rs 4,355-crore Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank loan case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is all set to attach a 2.5-acre plush property of the Wadhawans located at Alibaug, a coastal town in Maharashtra. The probe agency is still examining the market value of the property.
The ED on Friday had launched a search operation on six locations of Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL) and the close associates of the Wadhawans, along with former brass of PMC Bank. So, far the federal agency has attached a private jet and luxury cars of the Wadhawans, along with heirloom jewellery valued at Rs 60 crore.
Apart from the Alibaug bungalow, the agency is also zeroing in on a couple of yachts and one more aircraft of the Wadhawans.
Giving details of the plush bungalow at Alibaug, a source said it is nothing short of a five-star resort, sprawled across 2.5 acres in a village called Awaas. It is a lush green property with 24 rooms; it has an enormous guest house as annexe. The bungalow has all the mod cons — from a clubhouse to restaurants. There are eight ATV quad bikes and some golf carts, along with a few luxury cars parked on the premises.
“We are examining the value of each item found during the search operation. Accordingly, we will seek court permission to do the provisional attachment of the property,” said an ED source in the know. The provisional order of attachment has the outside validity of a maximum 180 days and the authority concerned must take the matter to the adjudicating authority for confirmation.
Meanwhile, the probe agency has sent out a request to its foreign counterparts in the Maldives to gather details of some more yachts owned by the Wadhawans.
The ED has also come across some political links in the case where the Wadhawans have gifted some properties in prominent locations in Mumbai and the suburbs to politicians.
HDIL has been organising some fashion events and is also the sponsor of the Kolkata Knight Riders — an Indian Premier League team owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan.
The ED is currently probing the role of promoters and certain directors of HDIL, including Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang. Both father and son were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police last week due to non-cooperation.
The agency is also zeroing in on a couple of yachts and one more aircraft of the WadhawansMumbai Police alleged that HDIL and its group companies have taken huge loans from PMC Bank and in exchange, the bank had, in connivance with the real estate firm, created 20,000-plus fictitious accounts to hide the loans disbursed to them.
Further, the 44 borrower accounts allegedly linked to HDIL were masked by tampering with bank software. It was alleged that PMC Bank’s former managing director (MD) Joy Thomas played a key role in hiding the borrowers’ accounts.
The ED case is based on a first information report filed by the EOW of Mumbai Police. The ED search also covers the head office of HDIL in Bandra (East) and the residence of Rakesh Wadhawan, which is known as the Wadhawan House in Bandra (West). The agency also searched the premises of Waryam Singh and former PMC Bank MD Thomas.