Panama leaks: ED seizes foreign assets worth Rs 7 cr of Delhi jeweller

Panama leaks: ED seizes foreign assets worth Rs 7 cr of Delhi jeweller
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached assets worth Rs 7 crore of a Delhi jeweller family in Panama Leaks case, after invoking for the first time a provision that allows seizure property here that is equivalent to foreign assets held by accused.

The assets attached belong to A K Mehra, Deepak Mehra, Shailini Mehra and Naveen Mehra of Mehra Sons Jewellers based in Delhi. This is the first time the ED has invoked Section 37A of Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999.

The ED seized Rs 7 crore lying in various bank accounts in India in respect of the said persons, the agency said in a statement.

According to Panama Leaks, the family had a couple of offshore entitites in Bahamas and British VirginIslands (BVI) and the registered agents were changed more than once for offshore entities. AK Mehra had in April 2016 was quoted as saying that he had incorporated these companies under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme and transactions were "duly declared to tax authorities and shown in the Income Tax returns of all members".

The ED statement said that it came to light that "huge amounts were sent out of India by mis-utilising the scheme of Liberalized Remittance Scheme(LRS) of RBI in the garb of making investments abroad" by the Mehras.

"The amount remitted outside India was given as interest free loan in individual capacity by the said persons to two companies in BVI and later on transferred to a company in UAE which is owned by one of the said persons. As on date, around Rs 10.54 crore is still parked outside India illegally by the said persons," the statement said.

The government has brought in Section 37A in 2015 by which equivalent property situated in India can be seized, if there is a suspicion that any foreign exchange, foreign security, or any immovable property, situated outside India, is held in contravention of Section 4 of FEMA.

The ED said further investigation is in progress.

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