A designated PMLA authority has held that a Delhi farmhouse, attached by the ED in the name of RJD chief Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti and her husband, is "involved" in money laundering and ordered that the attachment of the asset should continue.
The central probe agency had provisionally attached the immovable asset, located on a 12-bigha land in south Delhi's Bijwasan area, in September last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
"Considering the material (filed) in the original complaint (by the Enforcement Directorate)...I find the property provisionally attached is involved in money laundering.
"I, therefore, hereby confirm the attachment of the property...And order that the said attachment shall continue during the pendency of the proceedings related to the offence under the PMLA before a court and become final after an order of confiscation is passed by the special court," the recent order issued by Member (Law) of the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA, Tushar V Shah, said.
The ED has now seized the property, agency sources said.
The property belongs to Misa Bharti and husband Shailesh Kumar and is “held in the name of Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd”, the central probe agency had said.
The agency had said that its investigation found that the farmhouse was purchased "using Rs 1.2 crore involved in money laundering in the year 2008-09."
The ED is probing Misa Bharti, an RJD MP in the Rajya Sabha, and her husband as part of its criminal probe in a Rs 8,000 crore alleged money laundering case involving shell or bogus companies and two Delhi-based alleged entry operators Surendra Jain and Virendra Jain.
Jains were brothers and had been arrested by the ED in this case in the past.
It had also arrested an accountant, Rajesh Agrawal, who mediated and provided a cash amount of “Rs 90 lakh to the Jain brothers in advance so as to invest in Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd as share premium".
One of the firms that the Jain brothers dealt with was Mishail Printers and Packers Pvt Ltd. Bharti and her husband had been directors of this firm in the past.
“The company, Mishail Packers and Printers, was registered at the address 25, Tuglak Road, New Delhi till the shares were bought by Misha Bharti.
“It was only during the year 2009-10 that the address was changed to farm no 26 Palam Farms, VPO Bijwasan, New Delhi. Bharti and Kumar were the directors of the company during the relevant period,” the ED had claimed.
The couple have been interrogated and their statements recorded by the ED.
The agency said the Jain brothers, accountant Agrawal and the daughter and the son-in-law of the former Bihar chief minister were the “key persons behind the money laundering of Rs 1.20 crore”.
The ED had also conducted raids at the farm house and few other locations linked to Misa Bharti, her husband and others in July last year.
The accused can appeal against this order, issued by the authority, before the Appellate Tribunal of the Act.