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ED probing money laundering charges in case against IFFCO MD

Case pertains to alleged import of fertilizers and raw materials at inflated rates

The Enforcement Directorate is probing money laundering charges in connection with a case recently registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) managing director and others for alleged import of fertilizers and raw materials at inflated rates.

“Well before the CBI instituted the case, we had launched an inquiry under the Foreign Exchange Management Act in the same matter and have gathered substantial evidence related to the fertilizer scam,” said a senior ED official.

It is alleged that IFFCO MD U.S. Awasthi was involved in the scam along with his United States-based sons Amol and Anupam, the then Indian Potash Limited managing director Pravinder Singh Gahlaut and his son Vivek, who also lives in the United States.

Based on the initial findings, the CBI alleges that about ₹685 crore of illegal commissions were received through the bank accounts of companies owned by Rajiv Saxena, who then operated from Dubai, and others. Of the total amount, about ₹481 crore was channelled via Dubai-based Rare Earth Group and the remaining received by the Awasthi brothers and Mr. Vivek. Besides, “hawala” operators were roped in.

Mr. Saxena is also an accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case for routing kickback money via the companies floated by him.

Pankaj Jain of the Jyoti Group of companies and Rare Earth Group; his brother Sanjay, president of Jyoti Trading Corporation, and its vice-president A.D. Singh have also been arraigned by the CBI, which has alleged that the import cost of fertilizers and raw materials was inflated so as to cover the commissions paid to Mr. Awasthi and Mr. Gahlaut.

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