ED arrests Ambience Group promoter in ACB Jammu FIR

Rs 800 cr Bank loan fraud

Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI/JAMMU, July 29: The ED has arrested Raj Singh Gehlot, promoter of the Ambience group, in a money-laundering case linked to an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 800 crore, officials said today. They said Gehlot is expected to be produced before a court here after he was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The Central probe agency had raided Gehlot, his company Aman Hospitality Private Limited (AHPL), some other firms of the Ambience group, director in the company Dayanand Singh, Mohan Singh Gehlot and their associates in July last year.
The ED case against Gehlot, who is also a promoter of the Ambience Mall in Gurugram, is based on a 2019 FIR of the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Jammu against AHPL and its directors for alleged money laundering in the construction and development of the five-star Leela Ambience Convention Hotel located at 1, CBD, Maharaj Surajmal Road, near the Yamuna Sports Complex in Delhi.
The ED probe found that “a huge part of the loan amount of more than Rs 800 crore, which was sanctioned by a consortium of banks for the hotel project, was siphoned off by AHPL, Raj Singh Gehlot and his associates through a web of companies owned and controlled by them”.
“A substantial part of the loan money was transferred by AHPL to several companies and individuals on the pretext of payment of running bills and advance for supply of material and work executed,” the agency had alleged.
The employees of the Ambience group and Gehlot’s associates were made directors and proprietors in these companies and Gehlot was the “authorised signatory” in many of these entities, it had said.
“No material was supplied and no work was executed and almost the entire amount was immediately routed back to the entities owned by Raj Singh and Sons HUF (Hindu undivided family) and his brother’s son.
“Money was further siphoned off through multiple layers in a complex web of group entities,” the ED had said.
In March this year, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Jammu had filed a charge-sheet against Managing Director of Aman Hospitality Private Limited and two then Managers of Jammu and Kashmir Bank (JKB), Ansal Plaza branch New Delhi and others in Rs 270 crore bank load fraud case.
The ACB spokesman had said following information from a source about financial irregularities in the loans availed by M/S Aman Hospitality Private Limited, New Delhi from Ansal Plaza Branch of JKB New Delhi an FIR dated July 24, 2019 of Police Station (PS) ACB Srinagar was registered.
It was alleged that the officers of JKB Ansal Plaza Branch had given loan worth crores of rupees to this firm and in connivance with the firm the loan amounts so sanctioned were declared as NPA to facilitate the firm to have a One Time Settlement to its advantage.
The firm had apparently availed loans for the construction of a five star hotel in Delhi with a project cost estimated at Rs 866.89 crores and amount to the tune of Rs 227 crores as Term Loan alongwith Bank guarantee of Rs 15 crores has been released.
The rest of the loans were availed from other banks by the firm as part of consortium loan for construction of the five star hotel. The firm had pledged mortgaged land including the building of five star hotel and rentals which would accrue on the commercial area which was proposed to be leased out, hypothecation of all other current assets and personal guarantee of Raj Singh Gehlot who was the Managing Director of M/s AHPL worth Rs 41 crores favouring a consortium of banks including J&K Bank as the lead bank as part of mortgaged properties.
However, while looking into the allegations mentioned in the FIR investigation revealed that instead of using the loans sanctioned for the purpose of construction of hotel it was diverted and siphoned out for various other purposes and misappropriated by the borrower Raj Singh Gehlot.