ED arrests RJD MP in money laundering case

NEW DELHI, June 3:
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested RJD MP Amarendra Dhari Singh in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged fertiliser scam and payment of kickbacks to the tune of Rs 685 crore, officials said on Thursday.
The 61-year-old Rajya Sabha member and businessman was arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) from his residence in Defence Colony here, the officials said.
They did not specify when he was taken into custody.
The case relates to illegal commissions worth over Rs 685 crore allegedly given to the NRI sons of IFFCO Managing Director and CEO U S Awasthi and Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) Managing Director P S Gahlaut as well as others by overseas suppliers from 2007-14. This was done through transactions facilitated by AgustaWestland case VVIP choppers deal case accused Rajiv Saxena, officials said.
Dhari, who was sent to the Rajya Sabha by the Bihar-based party in March last year, is stated to be the senior vice president of a Dubai-based firm, Jyoti Trading Corporation, involved in the case, officials said.
His role is under the ED scanner for laundering of funds and he will be further questioned after the agency seeks his custody from the court, they said.
The ED case was filed after officials studied an FIR from the Central Bureau of Investigation, which raided at least a dozen locations last month in the matter. The CBI alleges that commissions were received in this case from suppliers of fertilisers and raw materials using a complex web of transactions.
The sham transactions were facilitated through circuitous routes in the garb of consultancy agreements to hide commissions paid to Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) CEO Awasthi, and Indian Potash head Gahlaut, who allegedly imported fertilisers and raw materials at inflated rates, the CBI says. The modus operandi was similar to the one used to send bribes in the AgustaWestland choppers alleged kickbacks case in which Saxena is under investigation. “Saxena’s role in a number of such deals is being probed by the CBI and the ED,” an official source said. (PTI)