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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken a significant step in the ongoing investigation into the Seva Vikas Cooperative Bank fraud case by attaching assets valued at Rs 122.35 crore. This move comes as part of the agency’s efforts to curb money laundering activities and bring the accused to justice.
According to a tweet by the ED, 47 immovable properties located in Pune and movable assets belonging to Amar Mulchandani, Sagar Suryawanshi, and others, including their family members and associated entities, have been seized. The agency is intensifying its investigation into the alleged money laundering practices that led to the fraud amounting to Rs 429 crore in the Seva Vikas Cooperative Bank.
Earlier this year, in January, the ED arrested Amar Mulchandani, the president of Seva Vikas Cooperative Bank, in connection with the money laundering case. It was revealed that the bank had been operating more like a family business, disregarding essential financial regulations. Loans were granted without proper collateral or considering the creditworthiness of the applicants, in exchange for substantial kickbacks. This reckless lending resulted in approximately 92 per cent of the loan accounts becoming non-performing assets (NPA), ultimately leading to the bank’s insolvency.
The fraudulent activities perpetrated within the cooperative bank caused a staggering loss of Rs 429 crore, with multiple First Information Reports (FIRs) being filed at various police stations in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
In January 2023, the ED conducted searches at ten locations associated with the accused individuals and seized assets such as gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs 2.72 crore, cash amounting to Rs 41 lakh, four luxury cars, digital devices, and incriminating documents. These items were discovered during the raids conducted at both residential and office premises belonging to Amar Mulchandani. Following these operations, the main accused and five of his family members were arrested by the Pimpri police after the ED officials filed an FIR against them. The charges included attempting to tamper with evidence and obstructing government officials from performing their duties.
The FIR was registered under section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Notably, the Pimpri-Chinchwad unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) distanced itself from the ED’s actions against Amar Mulchandani.
The attachment of these assets serves as a significant development in the investigation, indicating a determined effort by the Enforcement Directorate to recover the ill-gotten gains and hold the responsible individuals accountable for their actions.