A special PMLA court on Wednesday sent realty firm IREO’s owner and managing director Lalit Goyal to two days custody of the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case linked to alleged bribery of a now-suspended special judge, official sources said.
The businessman was arrested by the federal probe agency under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) from Gurugram on Tuesday, they said.
The special PMLA court located in Panchkula (in Haryana) sent him to two-day ED custody after the agency produced him before it on Wednesday.
This is the second time Goyal, the MD and vice president of the IREO Group, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He was arrested by the ED in 2021 in another money laundering case linked to alleged duping of home buyers.
The latest money laundering case stems from an FIR filed by the Haryana Police’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in April against former special CBI and ED judge Sudhir Parmar, who was posted in Panchkula, his nephew Ajay Parmar, and Roop Kumar Bansal, the promoter of another realty group M3M, and others.
This is the fourth arrest made by the ED in this case in less than a month. The agency has arrested Ajay Parmar and two directors and ‘key managerial persons’ of the M3M group — Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal.
According to the ACB FIR, the ED said reliable information was received that Sudhir was showing “favouritism” to the accused, namely Roop Kumar Bansal, his brother Basant Bansal and IREO’s Lalit Goyal in the criminal cases of the ED and other cases of the CBI pending against them in his court.
The ED recently said, in a statement, that the ACB FIR stated that “as per reliable information, instances of grave misconduct, abuse of official position and demand and acceptance of undue advantage/bribe from the accused persons in the cases pending in his court were observed (in the judge case)”.
Parmar was suspended by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after the registration of the ACB case.
The ED said it has collected “incriminating evidence such as bank statements and money trail with respect to the allegations in the FIR before making the arrests (of Basant Bansal and Pankaj Bansal)”.
The ACB FIR also said the former judge appointed his nephew (Ajay Parmar) as a legal advisor in the M3M group.
In 2022, the ED attached assets worth more than Rs 1,317 crore of the IREO Group, Lalit Goyal and associated entities as part of another money laundering investigation.
The agency, before registering the 2021 money laundering case against Goyal, took cognisance of at least 30 FIRs filed at various police stations located in Gurugram, Panchkula, Ludhiana and Delhi against the IREO Group, linked entities, its directors, key managerial persons and others.
The probe found, the agency said, that the accused “duped” innocent buyers by promising them to deliver flats, plots, and commercial spaces. They, however, neither delivered the projects nor returned people’s money.