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Court sends Mahira Group’s director to ED custody for 5 days

A city court on Wednesday sent Sikander Singh Chhoker, one of the directors of real estate firm Mahira Group, to five days’ custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. Sikander is the son of Dharam Singh Chhoker, the Congress MLA from Samalkha.The Chhokers are being investigated by ED for allegedly siphoning off money collected from homebuyers for a real estate project in Gurgaon.

The directorate arrested Sikander on Tuesday and produced him before court on Wednesday. The ED argued before court that five separate FIRs are registered against the accused and he was evasive in his replies when joining the investigation.

He is required for custodial interrogation as he needs to be confronted with documents and questions on placement of funds to detect the money trail and to unearth the involvement of other persons, ED officers said.

Mahira was supposed to build around 1,500 houses over approximately 10 acres of land in Sector 68 and had collected around Rs 360 crore from homebuyers, but failed to deliver the houses. The investigation revealed that the company siphoned off over Rs 100 crore from homebuyers, according to ED.

Meanwhile, Sikander’s counsel Prashant Yadav argued that his client joined the investigation and submitted records and documents demanded by ED on 37 different occasions. “But now, they want to counter his legal right as one of the co-accused, Dharam Singh, has filed a special leave petition and received relief from the Supreme Court of India. To prevent the accused from getting any relief from the apex court, he was arrested in haste,” Yadav said.

On April 29, ED moved an application before court to declare Sikander a proclaimed offender, but it was rejected by the court, and a non-bailable warrant was issued. Sikander was arrested the next day.

Sessions judge-cum-special judge (under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act) Subhas Mehla granted ED five days’ custody of Sikander for interrogation on Wednesday.

Earlier in February, he had approached the Punjab and Haryana high court to stay the ED’s investigation but failed to get any relief. In its application, ED mentioned that a case was registered in Jan 2021 at Sushant Lok police station against Sai Aaina Farms Pvt Ltd, presently known as Mahira Infratech Pvt Ltd, and its directors. They were accused of submitting fake bank guarantees to the director of the department of town and country planning (DTCP) for obtaining a licence for a housing project in Sector 68. Later, during the investigation, ED also registered an FIR in Nov 2021 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Another FIR was registered against the company and its directors in May 2022 at Rajendra Park police station, with the ED also registering a case in this matter. A few other cases were lodged against the company in other areas as well.

ED highlighted that during the course of the investigation, it was revealed that the company siphoned off money from homebuyers by booking fake construction expenditure in group entities and received cash equivalent to the fake purchases back from the entities.

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