Accused in ₹1,100 crore bank fraud denied plea for foreign travel

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A Mumbai PMLA court denied Anil Chokhara’s request to travel to Dubai for a family vacation. Chokhara, a key accused in a ₹1,100 crore fake import remittances case, is accused of submitting forged documents to fraudulently remit foreign exchange. He was granted bail in 2021.

The ED objected to Chokhara’s travel request, citing that the mastermind of the scam, Ramesh Kadel, is still absconding and is presently in Dubai. Another absconding accused, Deepak Kumar, was recently arrested at the Delhi Airport upon returning from Dubai after attending Kadel’s marriage.

The court also noted that the total proceeds of the crime (POC) involved in the case is ₹1,173.68 crore and that Kadel is still dealing with the POC. Therefore, Chokhara cannot be permitted to travel abroad.

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Chokhara’s advocate, Yogita Gogar, argued that Chokhara was granted permission to travel abroad by a metropolitan magistrate court, dealing with CBI cases. However, the court observed that the parameters for granting such permission in CBI cases and PMLA cases are different.

In 2017, Anilkumar Mulchand Toshniwal, Sunilkumar Chokhara, and Anil Chokhara, directors of M/s. Yogeshwar Diamonds Pvt. Ltd., M/s Shree Charbhuja Diamonds Pvt. Ltd., and M/s Kanika Gems Pvt. Ltd. Respectively, allegedly hatched a criminal conspiracy and accordingly, illegally remitted Indian currency in the form of Import Advance and post-import remittances by submitting forged bills of entry to the IndusInd bank and thereby cheated the bank.

The funds were remitted to the bank accounts of the 12 Hong Kong SAR, China-based companies. It was also revealed that in 2014, M/s Yogeshwar Diamonds Pvt. Ltd and others laundered funds of $1,28,76,458.42 (around ₹106.87 crore) to one Hong Kong SAR, China-based company named M/s. Star Grace Ltd with Deepak Kumar as the director at the time.

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In view of the gravity and seriousness of the offence, the court further observed that though all the activities of generation of proceeds of crime and money laundering have had basic roots in India, accused persons involved therein have committed criminal activities from China, Dubai, etc.

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