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Tamil Nadu: ED attaches DMK leader A Raja's 'benami' land worth Rs 55 crore in Coimbatore

Money laundering case: According to the federal agency, Raja's company purchased the land in lieu of approving an environmental permit to a Gurugram-based real estate firm, during his stint as the Union minister for environment and forests between 2004 and 2007.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Published on: December 22, 2022 19:53 IST
ED attaches DMK leader A Raja's 'benami' land worth Rs 55
Image Source : PTI ED attaches DMK leader A Raja's 'benami' land worth Rs 55 crore in Coimbatore

Money laundering case: Under the anti-money laundering law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it has attached a "benami" asset worth Rs 55 crore of DMK leader A Raja. The attached asset included 45 acres of land in the Coimbatore district in Tamil Nadu. 

Benami means 'no name' or 'without name' and such properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased.

According to the federal agency, Raja's company purchased the land in lieu of approving an environmental permit to a Gurugram-based real estate firm, during his stint as the Union minister for environment and forests between 2004 and 2007.

"The real estate company (listed on the BSE) has given kickbacks to A Raja as quid pro quo for awarding the environmental clearance, around the same period in 2007, in the garb of land commission income in the hands of one benami company of A Raja," the ED said in a statement.

A Raja incorporated the company in 2007

It further stated that A Raja incorporated the company in the same year (2007) in the name of his family members and his close family friend, with the sole aim of using it as a vehicle to park the proceeds of crime. 

The ED claims that the said company has never been involved in any commercial activity since its establishment and that all funds received by the company were received as "quid pro quo" from a real estate transaction and used to purchase land in Coimbatore.

"Thus, the 45 acres of land in Coimbatore worth Rs 55 crore have been purchased directly using the proceeds of crime, (illegal payment made as quid pro quo for obtaining environmental clearances) have been provisionally (under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act) attached," it said.

CBI filed chargesheet against Raja in August 

The money laundering case stems from an earlier CBI complaint against Raja, in which the latter agency filed a chargesheet in August before a special court in Chennai.

The CBI had charged Raja for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 5.53 crore during his tenure as the Union environment minister in the UPA government.

The CBI had alleged that a close associate of Raja, C Krishnamurthy, had set up a company Kovai Shelters Promoters in January 2007 in which a payment of Rs 4.56 crore was received in February that year from a Gurugram-based real estate company as commission for the purchase of land in Kanchipuram.

It is alleged that the payment was not for the land deal but a quid pro quo for giving the real estate firm the status of an infrastructure company by Raja during his tenure as a Union minister.

Raja's company purchased agricultural land in Coimbatore

The CBI has alleged that the company had not "undertaken any other real estate activity" other than the purported land deal for the real estate firm. The company had later bought agricultural land in Coimbatore.

The agency has alleged that Raja, as a minister, had garnered assets worth Rs 5.53 crore, including the payment of Rs 4.56 crore to the company in which Raja's close relatives were directors, which he could not satisfactorily account for.

It should be noted here that the CBI has alleged assets in question were disproportionate to the tune of 579 per cent from his known sources of income.

(With inputs from PTI)

ALSO READ: OPINION | Why is Congress worried about ED probe into National Herald issue?

 

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