Unitech ex-owner’s wife held in money laundering case

The ED had recently filed a case under several sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the Unitech Group and its promoters Sanjay Chandra, Preeti Chandra, and Ajay Chandra — As per the agency — for allegedly diverting over ₹ 2,000 crores to Cyprus and the Cayman Islands in an illegal manner.

Preeti Chandra, who is the wife of jailed Unitech promoter Sanjay Chandra, has been arrested in a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate. According to the sources, Sanjay Chandra’s father, 80-year-old Ramesh Chandra, has also been arrested in the case. Rajesh Malik of Carnoustie Management, who acted as the legal heir of plots of Unitech Group and allegedly cheated people through selling them non-existent plots in Noida, was arrested for the same, sources mentioned.

Earlier this year, the agency filed a criminal case under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the Unitech Group and its promoters. The ED stated, “Total proceeds of crime, in this case, is ₹ 5,063.05 crores as reported till now.” The agency had conducted raids at 35 locations in Mumbai and the National Capital Region which belong to Unitech Group and other parties. “Total proceeds of crime, in this case, is ₹ 5,063.05 crores as determined till now,” the agency had said.  

Raids were conducted at 35 locations in Mumbai and the National Capital Region belonging to the Unitech Group and several others; Shivalik Group, Trikar Group, and Carnoustie Group, in March.

In July, the Enforcement Directorate had attached a London hotel worth ₹ 58.61 crores in connection with the money laundering case. The hotel, Bed and Breakfast, is owned by a company called Ibournshorne Limited, a UK-based associate firm of the Carnoustie group.

This was part of the Chandras’ properties in India and abroad attached by the agency, the overall valuation of which is around ₹ 600 crore by Ramesh Chandra and his sons — Sanjay and Ajay Chandra – are also accused of allegedly defrauding Canara Bank of ₹ 198 crores.  

In a complaint filed in November 2020, the bank had said Unitech; which had been a customer since 1971 and had various credit facilities – had defaulted on multiple payments.

Two months ago, the Chandra brothers had been shifted from Tihar Jail to Mumbai’s Arthur Road and Taloja Jail after the Enforcement Directorate told the Supreme Court that they reportedly found a “secret underground office” in the Green Park area of South Delhi. The agency alleged that the brothers were using it for their operations while on parole or bail.

The Supreme Court had ordered the shift, mentioned the agency in its report, specified their connivance with Tihar Jail staff in flouting orders, breaking the rules, and undermining the jurisdiction of the court.

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