In one case, the agency provisionally attached Rs 173.48 crore worth assets of Santiago Martin, known as "lottery king" in Tamil Nadu.

Santiago Martin wearing a black coloured suit, against the backdrop of a collage of lottery ticketsFile Photo of Santiago Martin
news Money Laundering Sunday, July 03, 2022 - 16:48

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday, July 3, attached assets of more than Rs 400 crore in two different money laundering cases linked to alleged bank and lottery frauds in Tamil Nadu. Of them, around Rs 234 crore worth property belongs to Gold Palace, a property of Saravana Stores, a chain of famous outlets based in Tamil Nadu. The federal agency, in a statement, has said that a provisional order for attaching Rs 234.75 crore worth properties of Saravana Stores (Gold Palace), Chennai, which is accused of cheating the Indian Bank, has been issued.

The agency alleged that late Pallakudurai, P Sujatha and YP Shiravan, partners of Saravana Stores (Gold Palace), conspired with unknown public servants and others to cheat the bank's branch located in T Nagar area of Chennai. “The business house had applied for sanctioning of loan by fabricating the balance sheet and projecting sound financial health of the firm. There is a huge mis-match between the sales reported and credit entries of the firm," it said and added that it presented a "cosmetic" picture of expected turnover for upcoming financial years at the time of availing loan.

"In order to cheat Indian Bank, a significant wrongful loss and deriving personal gain, the firm in collusion with property valuer, bank officials, and certain private persons proposed to purchase assets at a price which is clearly much higher than the real fair market value," the agency said in its released and alleged that the investigation conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act has adequately established the ill motives of accused individuals and bank officials from the inception.

“The accused overstated the inventory, transferred the assets without the knowledge of the bank, used the OCC (open cash credit) limits to repay the term loan, misappropriated and diverted the funds for which it was not sanctioned, and committed other irregularities and thereby, cheated the bank and caused wrongful loss to it,” ED said. The money laundering case was registered in May after the ED took cognisance of a CBI FIR filed a month earlier against the accused.

In the second case, the agency provisionally attached Rs 173.48 crore worth assets of Santiago Martin, known as "lottery king" in Tamil Nadu. "Attached properties consist of various movable and immovable properties in the form of bank accounts and land situated in Tamil Nadu standing in his name as well as in the name of his various companies," the ED said. The agency has booked Santiago and others under the anti-money laundering law after taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed by the CBI, Kochi office against the accused under various sections of the IPC and Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998.

“It was found that the partners of MJ Associates, Santiago Martin and N Jayamurugan, made unlawful gain with a corresponding loss to the government of Sikkim to the extent of Rs 910,29,87,566 (about Rs 910.29 crore) on account of inflating the prize winning tickets claim between April 1, 2009 and August 31, 2010, which is nothing but proceeds of crime under the PMLA", ED said in the press statement. The agency, in the past, has issued four similar attachment orders against Martin and others under which assets worth Rs 278 crore were attached.

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