Mumbai: A woman director of a Hong Kong-based firm has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on charges of money laundering. The arrest came after investigations in an ongoing probe of money laundering against a daiamond firm here.The diamond firm is alleged to have laundered Rs 1,478 crore via 500 alleged shell company accounts.
The laday director was dentified by the ED on Monday as Kritika Dahal (35). However, she was arrested on February 25 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).Sources said that Dahal was initially "intercepted" at the airport, then she was questioned and eventually was placed under arrest.
ED said that the woman director "controlled" a Hong Kong-based firm International Rising Limited. She held 99.99 per cent shares of the company.
The case had come to light after the ED booked a diamond trader, Ritesh Jain, for open bank accounts in the names of fake companies. These account were then used for illegal transactions after the note ban. After that the funds were used to import diamonds using dubious accounting.
The dummy accounts were later used to launder huge amount of funds after note ban, the Hong Kong firm was part of the racket.
"During the course of investigation, it was revealed that the accounts were used for effecting illegal transactions of huge amounts which were credited from more than 100 accounts of different shell companies, sourced from more than Rs 92 crore in old demonetised currency deposited in the account post the notes ban.Layering of these funds has been done through more than 500 accounts," an ED statement said.
ED had also raided Jain's firm Rajeshwar Exports Private Limited, and had seized diamonds worth over Rs 30 crore.
"The funds from all companies/firms were credited through RTGS to Ms Rajeshwar Exports Pvt Ltd which were utilised for outward remittance to Hong Kong in guise of payment of import of overvalued consignments of total 355 bills of entries. It was found that the total outward remittance of USD 21.22 crore (approx Rs 1,421 crore) were undertaken from the account of the firm within a period of one year," ED said.
"Out of this, more than Rs 92 crore was deposited in various accounts in cash after demonetisation, which was then transferred to the accounts of Ms Rajeshwar Exports and subsequently utilised by it for outward remittance," the agency said.
ED detailed role of woman's firm in the scam. "An amount of Rs 1,478.85 crore was yet to be received by Rajeshwar Exports against export made from the company. Out of this, only one company, International Rising Limited, has received USD 14.79 crore (approx Rs 990 crore) for supply of 220 consignments of diamonds/gold, which appears to have been overvalued for more than 10 times," ED said.
According to ED, Dahal admitted that it was on instruction of Jain that she had she became the director of the firm.
"The company in Hong Kong was established for the sole purpose of money laundering and had no other activity," the agency added.