Sahara under ED scanner

New Delhi: The Sahara group has come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate for alleged violation of foreign exchange rules to the tune of crores of rupees in connection with the purchase of a hotel in UK.

Sources said the ED has officially communicated to the RBI that it should obtain further information after the Directorate questioned officials of two Mumbai-based banks– ICICI and Axis– which were involved in transferring of funds to UK through Mauritius in this connection last year.

The deal in question is when the Sahara group moved crores of rupees for purchasing a hotel in UK.

Sahara, however, dismissed the charges.

"Both the banks, ICICI Bank as well as Axis Bank had done their complete due diligence while transferring the funds overseas, which were used to invest in the hospitality sector overseas.

"At every stage, there has not been a single incident of violation of any regulatory or legal requirement. The flow of funds are very much in accordance of the objects of the respective companies and we have been very open right from the beginning about the entire transaction and there is nothing to hide from the authorities concerned," Sahara spokesperson Abijit Sarkar said.

ED suspets "contravention" of the Foreign Exchange Managememt Act (FEMA) in this deal as the funds were allegedly routed through Mauritius– a tax haven.

Sources also said the Directorate would now issue notices to the Sahara group under FEMA laws.