Kerala: ED finds embezzlement of NHAI funds at Paliyekkara toll plaza after raids; Read
The ED had conducted search operations at various offices including Guruvayoor Infrastructure Private Limited (GIPL) in Thrissur's Paliyekkara toll plaza in connection with a case involving the misappropriation of NHAI funds.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate had conducted search operations at several offices in West Bengal's Kolkata, Telangana's Hyderabad and Kerala's Thrissur district under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). According to the agency statement, on October 16, 2023, under the provisions of the PMLA, 2002, ED searched the offices of Bharat Road Network Limited (BRNL) in Kolkata, Guruvayoor Infrastructure Private Limited (GIPL) in Kolkata, KMC Constructions Ltd. in Hyderabad, and GIPL office in Thrissur in connection with a case involving the misappropriation of NHAI funds.
It should be noted that the Paliyekkara toll plaza is run by GIPL. On Monday, ED also conducted a raid at the plaza.
The ED launched an investigation on the basis of an FIR filed by CBI under various sections of IPC, 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Guruvayoor Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (GIPL) and others. The FIR alleged that the company and its former Director Vikram Reddy engaged in criminal conspiracy with unidentified NHAI, Palakkad officials in connection with the completion of work related to two sections of National Highway 47 between 2006 and 2016, thereby embezzling funds of NHAI worth Rs 102.44 crore.
According to the ED investigation, the accused company GIPL and subcontractor KMC Constructions Limited, along with NHAI officials and the project Independent Engineer, illegally secured the road project's completion certificate and began obtaining tolls from the general public.
The inquiry has also shown that the accused company illegally made money by letting out the advertising space while the bus bays were still being built. Thus, the accused received an unauthorised advantage of Rs. 125.21 crore, which is the cost of the work that was never completed and the proceeds of crime as defined under PMLA, 2002.
It was found during the investigations that GIPL put the toll collections in mutual funds without paying NHAI for the work that was not completed. As a result, Guruvayoor Infrastructure Private Limited's bank account and fixed deposits in Kolkata were subject to a freezing order under Section 17(1-A) of the PMLA, 2002, for a sum of Rs 125.21 crore.
Additionally, searches resulted in the seizure of incriminating documents from KMC Constructions Limited's office space, which showed that the company had sold its 51% stake in GIPL to BRNL without carrying out a proper valuation and without obtaining the required NHAI approval as per the terms of the contract. As a result, KMC Constructions Limited's bank balances totaling Rs 1.37 crore were subject to a freezing order imposed in accordance with Section 17(1-A) of the PMLA, 2002.