Breaking News

ED woes for Cyrus Mistry over land deal

Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, 51, who once accused Tata Sons of allegedly violating corporate governance norms, may now have to answer “very uncomfortable questions” following Mumbai’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) linking his company, Ms Shapoorji Pallonji, to a murky land deal worth Rs 300 crore. ED officials say this is following revelations made by one Nitish J. Thakur, a former deputy collector of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

Thakur was arrested in Dubai on January 21, 2018, by the UAE police, according to a written reply in the upper House given by Union Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla. An Interpol notice had been issued against Thakur in October last year on ED’s extradition request.
The minister said, "M/s Shapoorji Pallonji Company Limited had filed a civil suit no. 2576 of 2011 before the High Court of Bombay and obtained a decree in its favour on October 19, 2011 for transferring the properties acquired out of the funds given by it." He added that assets worth Rs. 119.43 crore were "attached" in the case.
Thakur had reportedly acted as a front and allegedly received funds from Shapoorji Pallonji Co, the ED claimed.
Interestingly, this is not the first instance of Shapoorji Pallonji getting embroiled in a land acquisition case. On January 16, 2018, the Appellate Tribunal court in Delhi was hearing the matter of Rs. 115 crore attached and lying with Indian Bank, Navi Mumbai. The copy of ED order dated March 30, 2016, and available with this reporter says, “PMLA investigations further revealed that the so called agreements between Shapoorji Pallonji Co. Limited (SPCL) and Nithish Thakur-owned PRS Developers appear to be an attempt to disguise criminal origin of the proceeds and project the tainted money as untainted, which is evident not only from the ACB chargesheet but also from findings.” The matter will now come up for hearing on March 26.
In 2012, the Bombay High Court had issued notice to Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, father of Cyrus Mistry on a PIL which said "Pallonji Shapoorji's real estate company had paid a sum of Rs 258.88 crore to PRS Enterprises. The Income Tax Department had initiated inquiry into the transaction in December 2010 and had concluded that both the parties have failed to substantiate reasons behind payment of such huge sum of money."
The go-between PRS Developers and Shapoorji Pallonji was Nitish Thakur. The ED had last year arrested Thakur's younger brother, Nilesh, as part of its probe. It was then alleged that Nilesh also acted as a front for his brother and had received funds from Shapooirji Pallonji. “Though the party has claimed it to be project management consultancy (PMC) charges or advance for aggregation of land, however, this amount was not found to be bona fide income,” the ED said after arresting Nilesh.
The elder Thakur, now in custody, has been on the run for nearly three years following cases registered against him by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and ED. The ministry of external affairs had sought documents from the ED and then began proceedings for Thakur’s extradition. Nitish Thakur, wanted in connection with cases of disproportionate assets and money-laundering, has been accused of having amassed more than Rs 200 crore when he was deputy collector of MHADA. He was first arrested in 2012 and again in 2015 before he jumped bail and fled to Singapore via Nepal and later moved to Dubai where he acquired temporary residentship. Nitish's visa had expired in June 2017 and he was taken into custody while attempting to get it extended. Thakur, claimed a senior ED official, owns over 26 properties in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

No comments