On MSME minister’s turf, 50 ghost firms guzzled Rs 20 crore

Anuraag Singh, Bhopal: More than 50 fictitious firms holding 112 accounts in two banks in Katni have come

under the scanner of police and income tax authorities for alleged laundering of money got possibly through illegal sale of coal and illicit mining activities.

“We’ve cracked the first layer of the possible multi-layered hawala racket routing crores of rupees obtained through illegal sale of coal from MP to Delhi-NCR and Haryana and possibly illegal mining, by tracing the 112 accounts in two banks opened in the name of 50-plus fictitious MSMEs (micro small and medium enterprises),” a senior police officer said.
The list of the bogus firms includes Shubham Trading Company, Venus Trading, Hariom Enterprises, Kartik Hardware, Supreme Textiles, Amar Prem Enterprises, Shubh Laxmi Enterprises, Bengal Steel, Bengal Store, Ganpati Trading and Adinath Services.
While these firms hold their accounts in two banks–one nationalised and the other private–in Katni district, their actual locations are being probed.
“We’ve alerted cops in all districts of MP, particularly the adjoining Satna, Jabalpur, Rewa, Satna, Shahdol and Anuppur districts to track the actual locations and people behind these companies, but vital clues still eludes us,” said an officer of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the case.
According to sources, the role of one Manvendra Mistri, hailing from Panna district but based in Katni, has come to light in the routing of the money.
The money flowed through cheques issued to SK Minerals, another bogus company, having two BPL card holders as directors, by around two dozen industrial units in Delhi-NCR and Haryana through Mistri, the sources told HT on Wednesday.
“We’re also probing possibility of the money being the result of illegal mining activities,” said SP Katni Gaurav Tiwari.
BPL cardholders clueless how Rs 20 crore was deposited & withdrawn through their accounts
The two BPL cardholders Rajnish Tiwari, a part-time electrician, and Umadut Haldkar, working with a small clinic, had no clue how about Rs 20 crore was deposited and withdrawn through their accounts, also in the Axis bank’s branch, between 2006 and 2009, an issue reported by HT on August 5.
The bank accounts revealed that the duo was listed as directors of SK Minerals.
According to Katni police sources, the income tax department is also investigating the entire racket and could have gone much deeper into the racket, which is likely to be exposed fully in the coming weeks, sources said.
Police are also probing the possibility of one of the two BPL cardholders, Rajnish Tiwari having colluded with the racket and 2-5 % of the money deposited in the Axis Bank account, later being paid to him as commission for parking the black money.
The police are also probing possibility of the racket being linked to another similar racket involving 11 bogus MSMEs in Katni which have been found to source coal from South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) in MP and Chhattisgarh at subsidised rates and diverting it in open markets of UP and MP.
“Since all these transactions date back to 2006-2009, it’s quite possible that the coal which was sold to companies in Delhi-NCR and Haryana could have been obtained from public sector coal mines at subsidised rates under the Fuel Supply Agreement,” the Katni SP said.
Investigations have also revealed that these fictitious companies managed to get accounts opened in two banks sans proper documents like the PAN cards and have not even complied with the mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, which is lapse on part of the banks, said Tiwari.