Suryakant Jena

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday attached property of over Rs 3.92 crore belonging to former Cuttack-Choudwar MLA Pravat Biswal in connection with money laundering case.

The Directorate of Enforcement(ED) has provisionally attached movable and immovable assets worth Rs. 3,92,20,000 belonging to Pravat Ranjan Biswal, ex MLA, Cuttack and M/s Media Guru Consultants Private Ltd under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in a ponzy scam case.

According to the anti-corruption agency, the ex-MLA made fraudulent collection of deposits from the gullible public in guise of issuance of preferential shares by enrolling the depositors as members of cooperative societies, the ED said in a press release.

These companies were neither registered as Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) nor listed in National Stock Exchange of India (NSEI) and as such not authorised to collect such public deposits. 

The attached assets include bank balance of Rs 25 Lakhs at SBI Cuttack Branch belonging to Pravat Ranjan Biswal and one immovable property belonging to M/s Media Guru Consultants Private Ltd. in NOIDA, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. 

Investigation was initiated under PMLA, 2002 on the basis of FIR and Chargesheet filed by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Crime Branch, Odisha Police and FIR, Chargesheet filed by CBI, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against M/s Seashore Group of Companies which were involved in the process of money laundering.

These companies generated proceeds of crime and diverted the said tainted money into acquiring different movable and immovable properties. 

They fraudulently and dishonestly collected huge amount from the general public out of which Rs 25 Lakhs was diverted to the ex-MLA & his family members and Rs 4 Crore was diverted to M/s Media Guru Consultants Private Ltd to set up a News and Current Affairs TV Channel named STV SAMACHAR. 

The ED has earlier attached properties worth Rs. 258 crore by issuing four PAOs which were duly confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority under PMLA and also filed Prosecution Complaint before Special Court (PMLA). 

Further investigation into the matter is under progress.

On the other hand, Pravat Biswal said that the ED has only attached Rs 25 lakh bank balance belonging to him and not Rs 3.92 crore. 

Laxmi Bilasini, the wife of the former MLA said she is not aware about their Rs 3.92 crore property. "I am surprised at ED's claim of Rs 3.92 crore of property. But yes, we had brought Rs 25 lakh from Prasanna Das to buy land, an issue which everyone knows," she said.