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ED arrests one in connection with Rs 173.50cr scam

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested one Debabrata Haldar in a case related to loss of Rs 173.50 crore to the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), officials said on Thursday.

"Haldar was arrested on Wednesday under the provisions of Prevention of Money laundering Act, 2002," the ED said.

A day before the arrest, ED had carried out a search operation at six different places in West Bengal.

Two vehicles -- one Toyota Fortuner, and a Toyota Corolla Altis (worth Rs 50 lakh), cash and jewellery (worth Rs 18.4 lakhs) were seized and an amount of Rs 3.95 crore, lying in the bank accounts of related fictitious MSME firms has been frozen under PMLA.

ED had initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered by the CID, West Bengal.

There was a total loss of Rs 173.50 crore to NSIC lent under its Raw Material Assistance Scheme (RMA Scheme) through criminal conspiracy by submitting Bank Guarantees (BGs) of other unconnected entities and fake BGs, purported to be issued by various branches of the erstwhile United Bank of India, Kolkata which came to fore when these were enforced by NSIC.

The funds of NSIC obtained under its RMA Scheme, were laundered or diverted through accounts of various fictitious supplier firms.

RMA scheme has been devised to provide credit facilities to various needy MSME firms.

During investigation, it was revealed that Debabrata Haldar, one of the main conspirators of the scam, acted as a middleman and main beneficiary of the whole scam.

The accused has acquired various movable and immovable properties out of the proceeds of crime. The Enforcement Directorate said that during the PMLA investigation, Haldar had been non-cooperative, evasive and did not divulge any relevant information.

"Therefore, he was placed under arrest on November 17 and the Special PMLA Court has remanded him to 10-day ED," the probe agency said, adding further investigation is under progress.