Tuesday, May 30, 2023

ED attaches assets worth Rs 47.1 cr in Cosmos bank loan fraud

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached four immovable properties worth Rs 47.1 crore belonging to Rosary Education Group and its partners Vinay Aranha and Vivek Aranha under the provisions of PMLA act, an official said on Monday.

The ED initiated an investigation after the Pune police lodged an FIR on the complaint of Shivaji Vithal Kale of Cosmos Bank against Vinay Aranha and Vivek Anthony Aranha alleging that the accused had obtained a loan of Rs 20.44 crore from Cosmos Bank by submitting fake documents of property. The ED said that its investigation has established that the accused had obtained multiple loans, including car loans in 2013-14 from Cosmos Cooperative Bank Pune by submitting fabricated property documents for mortgage and grossly overvalued these to avail loans for which they were otherwise ineligible.

Vinay Aranha submitted bogus work invoices (in the guise of refurbishment of the Rosary schools) and got loans disbursed to bogus vendors which were immediately withdrawn in cash and handed back to him. The ED said that they also conducted a fund trail investigation and found that Vinay Aranha diverted the loans and got crores of rupees in cash. He got loan amounts disbursed of Rs 34 Crore to Paramount Infrastructure, Shabbir Patanwala, Ashwin Kamat, Deepti Enterprises and others.

“All these so-called vendors have admitted that they did not do any work and returned the cash to Aranha. Despite giving repeated opportunities, Vinay Aranha has not given any account of the utilisation of the cash. Even in his schools, they did not maintain any account of revenue, expenditure and income since 2012 and no ITRs were filed,” the official said.

The ED said that all this was purposefully done to enable Vinay Aranha siphon off funds as per his whims & fancy. He admittedly splurged large amounts on celebrities & to host gala events (in the name of Vinay Aranha Foundation) for self-aggrandizement and also purchased multiple luxury cars. During the course of ED investigation, he was evasive & non-cooperative and did not respond to multiple summons of ED.

The central agency arrested Vinay Aranha under PMLA on March 10 and he is presently under ED Custody till March 20.

The present market value of the attached properties is estimated to be around Rs 98.20 crore.

The attached properties include lands and school buildings which are owned in the name of Vinay Aranha and family.

Further investigation in the matter is on.


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