The ED on Monday said it has seized luxury cars worth Rs 60 crore, including those of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bentley, and jewellery valued at Rs 5.75 crore during raids on real estate companies IREO and M3M in a money laundering investigation. The federal agency said in a statement that the searches were carried out on June 1 at seven of their locations in Delhi and Gurugram.
The owners, controllers and promoters of the M3M Group — Basant Bansal, Roop Kumar Bansal, Pankaj Bansal and other key persons — deliberately avoided investigations during the raids, the ED alleged.
The agency has been investigating the IREO group for the last few years on charges of diverting, siphoning off and misappropriating funds of investors and customers, and it was later found that “huge amounts of money running into hundreds of crores were siphoned off through the M3M Group too”.
In one of the transactions, M3M group received about Rs 400 crore from IREO Group through several shell companies in multiple layers. The transactions were shown in the books of IREO as payments towards development rights.
“The land was owned by M3M group and the market value of the land was around Rs 4 crore,” the ED alleged.
The agency said it seized 17 high-end luxury vehicles like cars of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Mercedes and Maybach among others that have an acquisition value of about Rs 60 crore. It also seized jewellery and bullion worth Rs 5.75 crore, Rs 15 lakh cash and various “incriminating documents” and books of accounts during the raids.
The M3M Group, the agency alleged, initially sold the development rights of the said land to five shell (dubious) companies for Rs 10 crore.
“It was claimed that the five companies are unrelated. Investigations show that these shell companies were operated by M3M Group. The five shell companies thereafter immediately sold the development rights of the same land to IREO Group for about Rs 400 crore,” it said.
After receiving the amount of Rs 400 crore from the IREO Group, the shell companies transferred the said amounts immediately to the M3M Group using multiple layers, the agency said.
“All the shell companies were owned and operated by M3M Group under the directions of its promoters Basant Bansal and Roop Kumar Bansal and his family members. In this way, IREO and M3M siphoned off about Rs 400 crore money belonging to investors/customers and the proceeds of crime remained with M3M Group which was used by M3M for other investments/ paying off liabilities,” it said.
The IREO Group did not make any effort to develop the land and started to “write off” the investments every year, the ED alleged.