Delhi lawyer held in Rs 60-cr cash conversion, sent in ED custody

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday arrested a Delhi-based lawyer on charge of converting Rs 60 crore in demonetised currency into new notes in connivance with a Kotak Mahindra Bank manager. A city court later sent him to ED custody till January 2.

Tandon was arrested after grilling by ED officials for almost a week and booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The ED officials produced Tandon before a Saket court and sought his 14-day custody to unearth the conspiracy behind the money trail, recover and ascertain the proceeds of crime and identify the beneficiaries.

Duty Metropolitan Magistrate Ashok Kumar however sent Tandon in ED custody till January 2.

“Tandon has converted over Rs 60 crore in demonetised currency in connivance with Kotak Mahindra Bank Manager Ashish Kumar and hawala trader Paras Mal Lodha into new notes,” an ED official told IANS.

The ED officials arrested Ashish on Wednesday and Lodha on December 21.

ED sources said Tandon gave Rs 1.5 crore as commission to Ashish, posted at Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Connaught Place branch, for converting his Rs 34.93 crore demonetised high-value currency into new notes.

The ED officials informed the court that Tandon knew persons who might have laundered their proceeds of crime through him.

“There can be other persons involved in the case,” the officials said.

While questioning Tandon, the ED officials reportedly learnt that he took the help of Lodha, 62, a businessman with interests in real estate and mining, to convert his high-value demonetised notes totalling over Rs 2.6 crore into new currency.

Lodha was intercepted at the Mumbai airport while trying to flee to Malaysia.

Cash of Rs 13.65 crore, including Rs 2.6 crore in new notes, was seized from Tandon’s office in Greater Kailash-I area of south Delhi during a raid by Delhi Police on December 10.

Tandon’s T&T law firm and residence, before this operation, were separately searched by the Income Tax Department, which said he had declared undisclosed income of over Rs 125 crore.

The agency has sent two mobile phones, allegedly seized from Lodha, for forensic examination as they contained some WhatsApp conversations between him and Tandon.

ED officials on December 1 raided multiple hawala operators across the country who were involved in illegal conversion of old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 demonetised on November 8.

–IANS

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