BOB scam: ED arrests Phagwara businessman’s brother

Law Enforcement (ED) Jalandhar Area Office has arrested Suresh Seth, the younger brother of Phagwara-based businessman Vikram Seth, in connection with the fraud case of several million dollars from the Bank of Baroda. Vikram Seth, the main defendant in the case was arrested by the ED last year. He was presented to the court of Mohali and sent to prison. He will be presented in court on March 7, by videoconference.

In 2017, the ED registered a case against VIikram Seth and 13 others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002. This followed a case by the CBI, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Chandigarh, on January 15, 2015, under Articles 120-B, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC and Section 13(1)( d) r/w 13(2) of the PC Act on allegations of criminal conspiracy, cheating, counterfeiting securities for the purpose of cheating and using false documents as genuine.

The ED investigated the money trail down to multiple layers to trace the proceeds of crime. Seth was found to have invested the money in movable and immovable property on behalf of his family members, the sources of which were not found to be legitimate during the investigation. Money was found diverted from loan accounts and placed in real estate and movable assets.

Seth and his family members/associates colluded with other defendants allegedly obtained 19 sanctioned loans from Bank of Baroda, Phagwara which resulted in fraud of Rs 21.31 crore thereby causing a loss to the bank. The loan amounts were routed through the accounts of various associated companies/companies and other fraudulent businesses by the accused through a network of transactions and ultimately the amounts were misappropriated.

ED investigated numerous bank accounts and found that 42 real estate properties, including 20 residential plots, six industrial plots, one house, three agricultural plots, two brick kilns and 10 commercial plots worth Rs 18.17, 03,627 located in (Phagwara) Kapurthala and (in Banga) Nawanshhar districts of Punjab and (Amb) Una district of Himachal Pradesh involved in money laundering.

Additionally, seven movable assets (such as Tata Safari, Honda Jazz, Skoda Octavia) worth Rs 32,97,000 were also purchased with the proceeds of crime. Thus, ED attached 42 immovables and seven movables worth Rs 18,50,00,627 last year which were derived/obtained directly or indirectly by Seth and his family members as a result of the use of bank loans from Bank of Baroda, Phagwara, via cheating and counterfeiting.

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