ED attaches properties worth ₹55 cr of former union minister A Raja

Financial probe agency says the former minister of environment and forests received kickbacks from a real estate company for awarding Environmental Clearances

NEW DELHI | Updated: 22 December, 2022 7:45 pm IST
Former union minister A Raja

Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth ₹55 crores of a Benami company held in the name of former Union Minister A Raja in connection with a money laundering case.

The ED said that the financial probe agency attached 45 acres of land of the Benami company of Raja, former Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Environment and Forest during the period 2004-2007 worth ₹55 crores, in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore.

The ED said that during the investigation, the agency found that Raja, during his tenure as Minister of Environment and Forests between 2004 and 2007, granted Environmental Clearances to a real-estate company (one of the largest real estate companies in the country, also listed on the BSE) based in Gurugram.

“During PMLA investigation, ED has found that the real-estate company has given kickback to Raja as quid pro quo for awarding the Environmental Clearance, around the same period in the year 2007, in the garb of land commission income in the hands of one Benami company of Raja,” the ED alleged.

The ED further said that the agency found that Raja incorporated the company in the same year, 2007, in the names of his family members and a close family friend, with the sole objective of using it as a vehicle to park the proceeds of crime.

“The said company was never engaged in any business activity since inception, and the entire money received by the company was a quid pro quo from the real estate deal and was used for acquiring land in the Coimbatore district.”

“Thus, the properties of 45 acres of land in Coimbatore, worth ₹55 crore, have been purchased directly using the proceeds of crime (illegal payments made as a quid pro quo for obtaining Environmental Clearances) have been attached by the ED,” the agency said.

The case is related to the 2015 disproportionate assets case, in which the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) charge sheet indicted Raja, now representing the Nilgiris parliamentary constituency.

The CBI, in its charge sheet, that it filed in August this year, alleged that Raja, who is also a leader of the DMK, as a Union minister in 2007, had allegedly granted infrastructure status to a Gurugram-based real-estate firm to build a hotel in the Kancheepuram district in exchange for money.

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