The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized Rs 360 crore worth of fixed deposits of a company of the Chennai-based Chettinad Group after it conducted raids against it and state public sector unit TANGEDCO, said the agency on Thursday.
Ten locations were raided by the federal probe agency on April 24 in connection with a money laundering investigation linked to alleged “cheating of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) by claiming excessive payments for coal transportation from the Vishakhapatnam Port, which amounted to hundreds of crores.”
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The ED case, filed under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), stems from an FIR of the Tamil Nadu directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption. Searches were carried out by the ED at 10 premises of South India Corporation (SIC), a group company of the Chettinad Group, TANGEDCO, a former director (coal) of TANGEDCO, some government officials and key management personnel of SIC and Western Agencies (Madras) Pvt Ltd.
The ED said, “Incriminating documents, including digital evidence and property papers, were seized apart from the seizure of Rs 360 crore worth of fixed deposits in the accounts of South India Corporation.” The ED alleged that the “loss” to TANGEDCO occurred between 2001 and 2019, in connivance with officials of the state PSU. “The initial tender awarded for six months was extended for 19 years based on an injunction petition filed by one of the related parties,” it said.
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The about 100-year-old Chettinad Group has its interests in a variety of sectors such as cement manufacturing, logistics and construction. The Income Tax department had searched the company in December 2020 and claimed to have detected tax evasion of more than Rs 700 crore.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the administrative authority for the I-T department, issued a statement in this regard and claimed to have seized “unaccounted” cash of Rs 23 crore during these searches.
(With Agency inputs)