The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has detected money laundering of over Rs 400 crore by real estate firms - IREO Group and M3M Group, officials said.
In connection with the case, the ED has carried out search operations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at seven locations in Delhi and Gurugram belonging to the IREO Group and M3M Group. The probe was carried out against the firms for allegedly diverting, siphoning off and misappropriating funds, officials said.
ED's investigation is based on multiple FIRs registered against IREO Group. The financial probe agency has also alleged that a huge amount of money running to hundreds of crores was siphoned off through the M3M group.
"The investigations done by ED showed that in one of the transactions, M3M group received about Rs 400 crore from IREO Group through several shell companies in multiple layers. The transaction was shown in the books of IREO as payments towards development rights," said the central agency.
"A land was owned by the M3M group, and the market value of the land was around Rs 4 crore. M3M Group initially sold the development rights of the said land to five shell companies for a payment of Rs 10 crore. It was claimed that the five companies are unrelated companies. Investigations show that the five shell companies were operated by M3M Group," the ED added.
It is alleged that five shell companies thereafter immediately sold the development rights of the same land to IREO Group for about Rs 400 crore.
According to officials, after receiving the amount of Rs 400 crore from IREO Group, the five shell companies transferred the amounts immediately to M3M Group through multiple shell companies and layers.
All the shell companies were owned and operated by M3M Group under the directions of its promoters, Basant Bansal, Roop Kumar Bansal and his family members.
It is alleged that, in this way, IREO and M3M siphoned off about Rs 400 crore money belonging to investors or customers, and the proceeds of crime remained with M3M Group, which was used by M3M for other investments and paying off liabilities.
On the other hand, IREO Group allegedly did not make any efforts to develop the land and started to write off the investments every year.
During the course of search action under PMLA, the owners, controllers and promoters of the M3M Group, namely Basant Bansal, Roop Kumar Bansal, Pankaj Bansal and other key persons, deliberately avoided investigations.
After the searches, the agency seized 17 high-end luxury vehicles (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Mercedes Maybach, etc.) having acquisition value of over Rs 60 crore, jewellery and bullion worth Rs 5.75 crore, cash of Rs 15 lakh along with various incriminating documents, digital evidence and books of accounts.