By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, January 31:
Six members of Mulchandani’s family, including Amar Mulchandani, former Chairman of the Seva Vikas Co-operative Bank, were arrested by the Pimpri Police, Pune, Maharashtra, on charges of obstructing officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) while conducting searches at their residential premises “ Mishty Palace” on Sunday.
According to the statement issued by ED on Monday, the agency conducted the searches at 10 places on Friday, January 27 and seized gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs 2.72 crore, Rs 41 lakh in cash, 4 high end cars, digital devices and various incriminating documents, during the searches conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002. The ED has been investigating a Rs 429.6 crore loan fraud in the Seva Vikas Coop Bank, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune.
However during the searches, the members of the Mulchandani family hindered the probe and tried to destroy the evidence. As such a police complaint was lodged.
The ED team accompanied by Bank panchas and CRPF visited the residences of Amar Mulchandani. But it could not get into his house as no one opened the house. Following this two police officers and a locksmith went to the premises to break open the door. Around 8.45 pm, a male member opened the door from inside as the locksmith was attempting to break it open.
When the ED team entered the premises, all of the defendants, and their servant Suraj Yadav, were present. When asked why they did not open the door, they falsely claimed that they were sleeping. Thus the ED team was refrained from doing the search for more than two hours and the family members tried to destroy the evidence.
The team was given to understand that Amar Mulchandani was absent. His family members obstructed the search and this time was used by him to destroy evidence. It was subsequently found that he was hiding in a room locked from inside at the same premises.
Based on the ED’s complaint, the police booked Amar Mulchandani, Ashok Mulchandani, Manohar Mulchandani, Mrs Daya Mulchandani, Mrs Sadhna Mulchandani and Sagar Mulchandani under section of IPC -353 (Assault of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). They were produced before the court and were remanded to magistrate custody.
The ED initiated investigation based on an FIR registered at Vimantal Police station, Pune, against Vinay Aranha of Rosary Education Group and others for loan fraud. Subsequently, Joint Registrar (Audit) conducted the audit of the entire Seva Vikas Coop Bank and found gross fraud and misappropriation of Rs 429.6 crore spread across 126 Non Performing Asset (NPA) loan accounts.
Board of Directors led by Amar Mulchandani violated all banking norms and deliberately sanctioned loans to ineligible/ shell entities to siphon off the funds. Based on this audit report, additional multiple FIRs were registered against the loan beneficiaries and bank management including Amar Mulchandani. The license of the bank was cancelled on October 10, 2022 ,by the RBI.