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ED raids 7 locations in Ambience Group bank fraud case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday carried out raids at seven locations in Delhi, including the residential premises of Raj Singh Gehlot, official premises of Aman Hospitality and other companies of the Ambience Group and other company officials in connection with an Rs 800 crore bank fraud case.

A top ED official confirmed that Raj Singh Gehlot, who is one of the directors in the Ambience Group, appeared before the financial probe agency at its headquarters for questioning in connection with the case.

The ED official said that the agency conducted searches under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) at seven different premises in Delhi. The official said that search operations were carried out at the residential premises of Gehlot, Dayanand Singh, Mohan Singh Gehlot, and their associates and the official premises of Aman Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. (AHPL) and other companies of the Ambience Group.

“During the searches, cash to the tune of Rs 16 lakh and foreign currency equivalent to around Rs 24 lakh (16,120 euro; 5,115 pounds and $ 6,302) were seized from the residence of Raj Singh Gehlot,” the official said.

The ED team also seized several incriminating documents and digital evidence during the search.

The ED has initiated a money-laundering probe on the basis of an FIR registered by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Jammu, against Aman Hospitality Private Limited and its directors for money laundering in the construction and development of the five-star Leela Ambience Convention Hotel situated in east Delhi’s Yamuna Sports Complex.

During the investigation, it was revealed that a huge part of the loan amount of more than Rs 800 crore, which was sanctioned by a consortium of banks for the hotel project, was siphoned off by AHPL and Raj Singh Gehlot and his associates through a web of companies owned or controlled by them, the ED official said.

The official further said that a substantial part of the loan money was transferred by AHPL to several companies and individuals on the pretext of “payment of running bills and advance for the supply of material/work executed”.

He also said that the employees of Ambience Group and the associates of Raj Singh Gehlot were made directors/proprietors of these companies and he was the ‘authorized signatory’ in many of these companies.

“However, no material was supplied and no work was executed and almost the entire amount was immediately routed back to the entities owned by Raj Singh & Sons HUF and his brother’s son. Money was further siphoned off through multiple layers by a complex web of group entities,” the official added.