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Vyapam scam: ED attaches over Rs 10 crore assets of two accused

PTI 01 April 2016, 19:54

New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth over Rs 10 crore of two accused in connection with its money laundering probe in the 'Vyapam' scam in Madhya Pradesh. 

The provisional attachment of assets order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been issued against Dr Vinod Bhandari, ex-chairman of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) and Dr Jagdish Singh Sagar, an alleged mastermind of the scam. 

The agency said today the Special Task Force (STF) of Madhya Pradesh Police has filed a chargesheet against Bhandari and Sagar, accusing them of "collecting huge amounts from various students for their selection by dubious means, through their aide, appearing for Pre Medical Test-2012 (PMT-2012) and Pre-PG Examination-2012 conducted by VYAPAM." 

The agency said its probe found that large cash deposits were made in the bank accounts of Bhandari. 

"He could not explain those deposits during the investigation. This cash was rotated among various bank accounts of his group companies and finally utilised for purchase of properties, in his name and in the names of his family members. Accordingly, 15 acres of prime land near SAIMS, with market value of Rs 9 crore was attached under the provisions of PMLA," it said. 

Similarly, it said, a number of immovable properties purchased in cash by Sagar and his family members were identified. 

"He also had unexplained cash deposits in the bank accounts which were also utilised for purchase of various properties. 

"Therefore, 17 acres of land at Bhindi and 135 sq mtrs of residential property at Indore with market value of Rs 1.70 crore were attached under the provisions of PMLA," it said. 

This is the second attachment against Sagar by ED as it earlier issued similar orders on his 14 immovable properties, four luxury cars, cash and three kg gold ornaments with a total value of Rs 3.40 crore. 

An attachment order under PMLA is aimed at depriving the accused from obtaining benefits of their alleged ill-gotten wealth and the accused can appeal against the order before the Adjudicating Authority of the said Act within 180 days. 

The central probe agency's Indore zonal office had registered a criminal FIR in March, 2014 to probe alleged financial irregularities and laundering instances in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board scam, also called 'Vyapam' in Hindi, pertaining to admission of candidates and students in professional courses and state services in alleged connivance with officials and politicians. 

The agency had named former state Higher Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma and 27 others in its FIR registered after taking cognisance of a clutch of STF FIRs. 

CBI is also probing the case.