ED attaches properties of Saravana Stores Gold Palace and Santiago Martin


Saravana Stores (Gold Palace) applied for a loan and fabricated its balance sheet

Saravana Stores (Gold Palace) applied for a loan and fabricated its balance sheet

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached the properties of Saravana Stores (Gold Palace) Chennai and ‘Lottery’ Santiago Martin in two different cases.

In the first case, it attached the properties worth ₹234.75 crore in a money laundering case filed for defrauding Indian Bank. The ED initiated an investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, based on an FIR (April 25, 2022) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Economic Offences Wing, Chennai. And the ED recorded the case in May 2022 under the PMLA.

According to details provided by the ED, it is alleged that late Pallakudurai, P. Sujatha and Y.P. Shiravan, partners of Saravana Stores (Gold Palace), with the criminal intention of cheating Indian Bank, T. Nagar branch, had conspired with unknown public servants and others.

Investigation revealed that Saravana Stores (Gold Palace) had applied for a loan and fabricated its balance sheet and projected that the company was financially healthy. Details provided by the ED highlighted that there was a huge mismatch between the sales reported by the firm and the credit entries. Turnover projections were not provided accurately when the loan was taken. The firm, in collision with the property valuer, a few bank officials and some private persons, proposed to purchase assets at a price which was higher than the market value.

The investigation revealed that the accused persons overstated the inventory, transferred the assets without the knowledge of the bank, used the OCC limits to repay the term loan, misappropriated and diverted the funds and committed other irregularities. Thus, the accused persons and the firm cheated the bank and caused it a wrongful loss. “The accused company has generated proceeds of crime amounting to ₹240 crore out of criminal activities,” the ED mentioned in a statement.

In the case of Santiago Martin, the ED attached movable and immovable properties worth ₹173.48 crore. The properties include bank accounts and land in Tamil Nadu standing in his name as well as in the name of his companies. The ED initiated investigation based on charges filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the CBI, Kochi.

“The partners — M.J. Associates , Santiago Martin and N . Jayamurugan — made an unlawful gain with a corresponding loss to the Government of Sikkim to extent of ₹910.29 crore by inflating the prize-winning lottery ticket claims for the period from April 2009 to August 2010, which is nothing but proceeds of crime as defined under Section 2(1)(u) of the PMLA,” the ED said. Immovable properties were bought with the proceeds of the crime. The ED said further investigations were in progress in both cases.

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