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ED freezes ₹7-cr bank deposits; I-T raids Fastway cable owner’s properties

A day after raiding properties belonging to Fastway Cable Network owner Gurdeep Singh Jujhar and his contacts, including former Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) chief engineer Surinder Pal Singh alias Pehalwan, in Punjab and Chandigarh, the enforcement directorate (ED) froze the fixed deposits totalling around ₹6.70 crore and five lockers in connection with a money laundering case, the central agency said on Friday. The ED officials said the fixed deposits belong to Gurmesh Singh Gill, who is also one of the accused in the case.

Also, income tax officials on Friday raided about a dozen properties linked to Jujhar in Ludhiana, Mohali and Haryana. A team of around 100 income tax officials searched Jujhar’s properties and offices in Ludhiana. The ED had raided properties of Jujhar, Pehalwan and his kin, Tarandeep Sangha and Gurmesh Singh Gill at eight locations in Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Mohali, Banga (SBS Nagar) on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday and seized more than ₹10 lakh in cash, some foreign currency, documents and cell phones.

An official said the ED launched money laundering investigations in April 2021 in consequence to an FIR and charge sheet filed by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against Pehalwan and his associates in 2017 for allegedly misusing his official position and favoured some companies in allotting multi-crore projects. It is alleged that the proceeds of illegal income was invested in bogus firms in the name of Pehalwan’s family members and his close associates.

The VB had arrested Pehalwan, who is reportedly close to the Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, on June 9, 2017, after it found he allotted works totalling ₹1,200 crore at exorbitant rates to favour some private companies. He was accused of parking his black money in accounts of bogus firms and family members. According to the VB probe, Pehalwan had registered three fake companies in the name of family members and made transactions of hundreds of crores.

During his GMADA stint, he allegedly formed a fake construction company, Ek Onkar Builders and Construction Pvt. Ltd., and illegally allotted tenders, thereby amassing ill-gotten money to the tune of ₹400 crore. Pehalwan had joined the Punjab Mandi Board as a junior engineer in 1993. He became a superintending engineer in GMADA in 2014 and officiated as a chief engineer there from 2016. In September 2019, the VB attached 59 properties of the former GMADA chief engineer, amounting to ₹26 crore on the orders of a Mohali court. Hindustan Times

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