ED seizes over Rs 1 crore cash in Rs 2,000 denomination during raids in money laundering case

New Delhi, Jun 21 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has seized Rs 1.62 crore in cash, most of it in Rs 2,000 denomination, following a raid against a man accused of extortion, murder and liquor smuggling in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Daman.

Nine residential and commercial premises of Suresh Jagubhai Patel and his associates were searched in Daman and Gujarat’s Valsad on June 19 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the probe agency said in a statement.

Suresh Jagubhai Patel and his accomplices — Ketan Patel, Vipul Patel and Miten Patel — are in judicial custody in connection with a 2018 double murder in Daman, the probe agency said.

The money laundering case stems from more than 35 FIRs filed against Patel and his associates by the police in Daman, Gujarat and Mumbai on charges of corruption, possession of illegal firearms, murder, attempt to murder, extortion, liquor smuggling, possession of illegal firearms, robbery, attack on government employees and passport forgery among others, the ED said.

The searches resulted in the seizure of cash worth Rs 1.62 crore, including more than Rs 1 crore in Rs 2,000 notes, documents related to more than 100 properties and “incriminating” papers about firms, companies, establishments and cash transactions apart from three bank locker keys, it said.

The RBI had recently announced the withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation but gave the public time till September 30 to either deposit such notes in accounts or exchange them at banks.

The accused, the ED alleged, created a web of companies and most of them had “no business or very little business”. Those were created with the sole purpose of “laundering ill-gotten money generated from their criminal activities”, it said.

The federal probe agency found that the bank accounts of Suresh Patel, his family members and the companies/firms controlled by him, were “credited with cash of more than Rs 100 crore”.

“Suresh Patel is accused in more than 10 cases of liquor smuggling in Gujarat, seven cases of forgery and fraud, eight cases of murder or attempt to murder, five cases of possession of illegal weapons and a corruption case.

“He has been convicted in a case registered under section 174-A (non-appearance in response to a proclamation issued under section 82 of the CrPc) of the Indian Penal Code,” the ED said.