Former TMC MP K D Singh arrested by ED in money laundering case

NEW DELHI: K D Singh, founder of the Alchemist Group and former Trinamool member of Rajya Sabha, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday in a money laundering probe initiated in 2018.
A special court in New Delhi has remanded him to three days of ED custody for custodial interrogation after the agency claimed that he was not cooperating with the investigation and was making contradictory statements.
Singh was elected to Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand as a nominee of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha amid allegations of bribery, but soon crossed over to Trinamool Congress which made him in-charge of organisational affairs in the north. His switch to Mamata Banerjee’s outfit was facilitated by the fact that he was the lone JMM member of Rajya Sabha and, hence, immune from the disqualification proceedings laid down under the anti-defection law. He fell out with Mamata and was not re-nominated.
He was once seen as a successful entrepreneur with interests ranging from media and real estate to frozen poultry where his Republic of Chicken soon became a leading name.
The ED has been investigating Singh’s Alchemist group since 2018 for alleged money laundering and its case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is based on an FIR registered by the Kolkata police. The anti money-laundering agency had in January 2019 attached the group’s properties worth Rs 239 crore in another case against Singh’s Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd, based on a SEBI prosecution complaint,
In September 2019, ED officials carried out searches at 14 of his premises in Delhi and Chandigarh. Incidentally, ED’s action coincided with Mamata’s visit to New Delhi.
The agency had then claimed it picked up digital documents and other evidence from Singh’s New Delhi residence that indicated circular transactions and huge investments in properties.
The Kolkata police in its FIR had accused K D Singh, his son Karandeep Singh, Alchemist Township India Ltd, Alchemist Holdings Ltds and various other group companies and directors of cheating thousands of customers by falsely promising them high returns against investments in plots and flats.
The ED said its own probe findings revealed that funds collected from the public were siphoned off to various other group entities. The banking transactions were layered through several shell companies to mislead the investigation. Various shell companies, replete with dummy directors, were created to launder these funds, the agency had said after the 2019 raids on his premises.
When questioned by the ED, the “directors” denied having any idea about the transactions or the purpose for which the money was collected.

Asia