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ED raids Subhash Chandra's Essel Group companies in RFL money laundering case

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Subhash Chandra ZEEL Essel Group

Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra (File photo)

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it raided companies of the Essel Group in Mumbai and recovered "incriminating" documents as part of its ongoing money investigation linked to alleged diversion of funds worth over Rs 2,000 crore from Religare Finvest Limited (RFL).

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The federal agency said in a statement that three premises linked to Konti Infrapower and Multiventures Pvt Ltd, Edison Infrapower and Multiventures Pvt Ltd, Asian Satellite Broadcast Ltd, Widescreen Holdings Pvt Ltd, Jayneer Capital Pvt Ltd, Spirit Infrapower and Multiventures Pvt Ltd and the residential premises of a former senior official of the Essel Group (who was not named) were raided on Wednesday.

The Essel Group is promoted by media baron Subhash Chandra and owns stake in leading media and entertainment companies which includes - Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Zee Media Corporation and Dish TV.

"The search has resulted in the recovery of incriminating documents and recording of spot statements of the officials of the companies under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)," the agency said in a statement.

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The money laundering case stems from an FIR registered by the EOW of the Delhi Police wherein Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL), a non-banking financial company of the Religare Group, made allegations against the four companies of hatching a criminal conspiracy for causing wrongful loss to RFL by defaulting on a loan of Rs 150 crore, it said.

The said loan of Rs 150 crore was given in March, 2014 to the Essel Group companies -- Rs 50 crore to Konti Infrapower and Multiventures Pvt. Ltd, Rs 40 crore to Widescreen Holdings Pvt Ltd, Rs 50 crore to Edison Infrapower and Multiventures Pvt Ltd and Rs 10 crore to Asian Satellite Broadcast Pvt Ltd, the agency said.

The ED alleged that the loan was "defaulted" by the above-mentioned companies by way of executing a fraudulent settlement agreement in January, 2018 in connivance with the erstwhile management and officials of RFL and an entity named Oscar Investments Ltd.

The agency earlier this month had conducted searches in this case and covered the corporate offices of RFL, M3M India Holdings, RHC Holding Pvt Ltd, Hillgrow Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, Dion Global Solutions and Prius commercial in Delhi-NCR.

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