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ED arrests Bush Foods Overseas employee in Rs 750 crore money-laundering case

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Bengaluru: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested the main accused in connection with a money laundering case of Rs 750 crore.

The ED on Saturday said, it has arrested Sai Chandrasekhar, an employee of Bush Foods Overseas Private Limited, for his involvement in the offence of money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002(PMLA) to the tune of Rs 750 crore and sent to seven-day remand for custodial interrogation, by the Delhi PMLA Court.

Accused Sai Chandrashekhar’s house and office were searched under section 17 of PMLA October 23 and his assets located in Bangalore and Mumbai and movable assets in the form of balances in bank accounts totaling to Rs 7 Crore have already been attached under PMLA.

ED initiated an investigation under PMLA against Virkaran Awasty, Vinod Sirohi, KPMG India Pvt Ltd., and others based on FIR registered by the Delhi Police’s Economic Offence Wing under sections 409, 420 and 120B of IPC on the basis of a complaint received from Hassad Netherlands BV and consequently filed a charge sheet in this case. 

The company Hassad Netherlands B V, a subsidiary of Hassad Food Company, was induced by Virkaran Awasty and Ritika Awasty, Directors of Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd to part with funds amounting to 120 million US Dollars (around Rs 750 crore) by misrepresenting the level of stocks and inventory. 

The accused persons made Hassad Netherlands B V provide a corporate guarantee for an outstanding amount of ₹714 crore towards a consortium of banks. The credit facilities were secured by Bush Foods Overseas Private Limited based on non-existent stocks and inventory, the agency alleged.

“Bulk transactions of sales and purchases were generated in order that Bush Foods could record increased turnover, profit margins, and additional stock by generating approximately equal value of sales and purchases in a year whereas artificial profit and stock in the book value of inventory was recorded in the books by showing these bulk sales as domestic sales”, the agency officials said.

Accused Sai Chandrasekhar as an employee of Bush Foods, was part of a team that evaluated the transactions and allegedly colluded and conspired with Virkaran Awasty to cheat Hassad Netherlands and was pivotal in the business transactions between Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd and Hassad Netherlands BV. 

“As a key negotiator with Hassad Netherlands BV Chandrashekhar, knowing that the credentials of his company were not genuine, facilitating the transactions and for this, he was paid Rs. 20.79 crores by Virkaran Awasty for his illegal gratification”, the ED officials said.

The investigation also revealed that Sai Chandrasekhar acquired property located at Bangaluru’s Indiranagar worth Rs 5.8 crore which was transferred by Virkaran Awasty from his firm V&R Overseas. 

He also received ‘Proceeds of crime’ to the tune of Rs 1 crore in the account of his father and mother from Virkaran Awasty which was spent for medical treatment of his father, the agency officials further said, adding that he again received Rs 13.79 crores from Virkaran Awasty in his company Harin Ventures Limited, Dubai.

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Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com
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