The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties worth Rs 3.10 crore of Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd (DMPL), Bengaluru, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) regarding a case where the company promised to deliver multimedia services to the ISRO and its commercial arm Antrix Corp Ltd.
The attached proceeds of crime are in the form of balance in the current account and fixed deposits available with ICICI Bank, Malleswaram, Bengaluru, in the name of the company.
Investigations under PMLA were initiated after the CBI registered a case and filed a chargesheet Devas Multimedia and others for illegally entering into an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation/Antrix Corp Ltd by fraudulently representing certain facts. On entering the agreement, they collected investments from abroad through criminal conspiracy.
Devas Multimedia incorporated on December 17, 2004, had fraudulently claimed that it had the ownership and intellectual property rights to use the technology to deliver multimedia services and entered into an agreement with ISRO/ACL to provide multimedia services in India.
Some employees of ISRO/ACL were in connivance with the said company for entering the agreement.
A statement issued by the ED said the company raised foreign investment of Rs 579 crore.
"DMPL also incorporated its subsidiary company in America in the name Devas Multimedia America Inc and, out of the foreign investment, an amount of Rs 76.19 crore was transferred to it as investment," said ED.
Later on, an amount of Rs 180.77 crore was transferred to its subsidiary in the US in the guise of providing business support services and a further Rs 230.11 crore was spent as legal fee and out of the said amount a major portion was transferred to the US.
Further investigations revealed that the agreement entered by the DMPL with the ISRO/ACL was illegal as the accused company did not have any technology or any ownership of intellectual property rights to deliver the multimedia services as promised.
The main purpose of entering the agreement with ISRO/ACL was to raise foreign investments on the strength of the agreement with ISRO and thereafter siphon off the investment, raised out of India, in the guise of investment in subsidiary company, business support services and legal fee.
The DMPL never did any major business in India other than providing Internet services to about 20-25 customers in Bengaluru. However, nearly 85 per cent of the foreign investment raised was siphoned off out of India in the guise of investment fee.
The ED earlier attached assets worth Rs 79.76 crore on February 27, 2017 in the same case.