ED attaches properties Magadh University's former VC under PMLA

Dec 05, 2023

New Delhi [India], December 6 : The Directorate of Enforcement has provisionally attached properties worth lakhs of former Vice Chancellor of Magadh University, Rajendra Prasad, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, in connection with a disproportionate assets case, the agency said through an official release.
As per the release dated December 5, the ED provisionally attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs 64.53 lakh under PMLA in connection with the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case of Rajendra Prasad, former Vice Chancellor, Magadh University.
The immovable properties are registered in the names of family members and the family-owned trust of Rajendra Prasad and are located in Dhanghata, district of Sant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, the release stated.
It added that the ED initiated an investigation based on an FIR registered by the Special Vigilance Unit (SVU), Patna, under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and IPC, 1860, against Rajendra Prasad and others, alleging that Prasad, while working as Vice Chancellor, Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, entered into a criminal conspiracy with others and dishonestly cheated the government of Bihar in the process of various confidential printing works (OMR sheets and others).
SVU, Patna conducted searches on the premises related to Rajendra Prasad and seized cash amounting to Rs 1.84 crore and froze the available balance of Rs 90.79 lakh in the bank accounts of Rajendra Prasad, the release further stated.
The probe revealed that from September 2019 to November 2021, Prasad used proceeds of crime to acquire 5 properties in cash in the name of his son Ashok Kumar and RP College represented by his brother Awadhesh Prasad.
The properties that were acquired in the name of RP College have been transferred to Pyari Devi Memorial Welfare Trust on a lease, it said.
As per the ED release, Prasad also deposited the proceeds of crime generated in cash in the bank account of Pyari Devi Memorial Welfare Trust (a family-owned trust of Prasad) to portray it as income of the said trust.
The investigation revealed that a 'well-planned conspiracy' was hatched by Prasad, involving his family members, to project the properties acquired with proceeds of crime as untainted properties by using the said family-owned trust as a conduit, the release added.
Further investigation is underway.
In a similar move, the ED provisionally attached immovable assets worth crores in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh under the provisions of the PMLA, the agency stated through an official release on Tuesday.
As per the release, the ED provisionally attached immovable assets of Rs 9.31 crore which include an industrial plot with a factory and building valued at Rs. 5.31 crore of Kala Amb Distillery and Brewery Pvt. Ltd at Solan, Himachal Pradesh under the provisions of PMLA as proceeds of crime generated by supplying liquor illegally in Bihar.
The agency also attached a piece of land measuring 22504 sq. mtr. along with a factory and building worth Rs 4 crore at Holongi Village, Arunachal Pradesh, in the name of Dorjee Phuntso Khrime.
ED initiated an investigation based on various FIRs and chargesheet under the provisions of the Indian Panel Code, 1860 by Bihar Police against Sunil Bhardwaj and others for illegal supply of liquor in the state of Bihar, the release said.
According to the release, the ED revealed that Sunil Bhardwaj runs Kala AMB Brewery and Distillery Pvt Ltd at Bhangla village in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.
Sunil Bhardwaj in connivance with his accomplice, identified as Dorjee Phuntso Khrime, a resident of Papum Pare in Itanagar, incorporated various entities that were used to get licences for establishing distillery units and also for running liquor shops in the area of Arunachal Pradesh, the ED added.
The investigation further revealed that Sunil Bhardwaj and Dorjee Phuntso Khrime were using a web of their entities and are claimed to be involved in the business of liquor, to supply liquor manufactured or bottled by them into the state of Bihar illegally.
Further, it is also revealed that the liquor was dispatched from the factory of Kala Amb Distillery & Brewery Pvt. Ltd. for Arunachal Pradesh, but the same was diverted to Bihar under the direction of Sunil Bhardwaj and Dorjee Phuntso Khrime, the release further said.
It is also noted that they used the web of their associated entities to open various bank accounts for receiving money from the buyers of the illegal liquor supplied in Bihar and, by doing so generating proceeds of crime.
The release mentioned that the investigation revealed that Rs 9.31 crore was deposited in cash in Bihar in the bank accounts of Sunil Bhardwaj and Dorjee Phuntso Khrime, which has been generated by the commission of scheduled offences.
Further investigation in the matter is underway.