BHUBANESWAR: A week after attaching Rose Valley Group's Rs 295 crore bank balance, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday attached Seashore Group's assets worth over Rs 158 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Bulk of the attached property was seized by the Crime Branch, which earlier probed the fraud by Seashore.
While the Crime Branch identified over 156 acre, the ED attached nearly 90 acre in Angul, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj and Puri districts. ED spotted seven new flats of Seashore Group which the Crime Branch failed to spot. "We attached 10 flats, three of which were located by Crime Branch. All 10 flats are in Bhubaneswar," said a senior ED official.
Two Seashore factories, Jatish Agro at Betanoti in Mayurbhanj and Barunei flour mill in Khurda and a corporate office in Bhubaneswar were also attached by the ED.
The specialized financial investigation agency also attached two quintals of silver coins and 1.385 kg gold bars, which were seized by the Crime Branch last year.
On November 11, 2013, the Crime Branch moved the finance department to attach the assets it seized under the Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act. Apart from seizing land and jewellery, the Crime Branch seized 10 luxurious cars, sealed some industrial houses and buildings and froze Rs two crore-bank deposits of the Seashore Group.
ED authorities said the state government's process of attachment of Seashore property will be transferred to their court. "Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act came into force in August 2013 whereas ED's PMLA is prevalent since 2002. Though Odisha government started the process of attaching Seashore assets after November 2013, the offence was committed in 2012. So, according to PMLA, all attachment cases will be heard in court," the ED official said.
Experts said if the ED attaches the assets, there is little chance of investors getting back the money. "ED's PMLA is limited to attachment and confiscation of property. The confiscated assets will remain in the government treasury. This will not help investors in any way," said lawyer Siddharth Das.
"There is a provision in the Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act of returning the confiscated property to duped investors. The bill not only entails confiscation and liquidation of assets, but also restitution of money to duped depositors," Das said.