Two promoters of a Chandigarh-based pharma company, Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta, have been sent to judicial custody for money laundering in connection with a ₹1,626-crore bank fraud case.
The duo was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on October 28 and produced before a special PMLA court after their ED custody ended. The court sent them to judicial custody. Their chartered accountant, SK Bansal, is already lodged in Model Jail, Sector 51.
The money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR in which the promoters and the pharma company were booked for allegedly defrauding a consortium of banks, led by the Central Bank of India, between 2009 and 2014.
The Guptas are also the co-founders of the Sonepat-based Ashoka University, but had stepped down from their posts in 2022 after the CBI registered a case against them and the company in 2021.
On October 27, the ED raided 20 premises, including the Ashoka University’s corporate and registered offices in Delhi and campus in Haryana’s Sonepat, Chandigarh, and Panchkula. The searches resulted in the recovery of movable and immovable assets to the tune of ₹114 crore, digital devices, and various incriminating documents.
Investigation found that Vineet Gupta and Pranav Gupta were actively and directly involved in generating, layering, and siphoning off proceeds of crime by availing bank finances by illegally inflating the value of primary security against which drawings were allowed by the bank.
Under their command and control, the loan funds were diverted and fraudulently rotated through their group companies and various shell companies. ED investigation also revealed that the Guptas and their company availed loans/financial facilities through forged documents.
Chartered accountant SK Bansal was their statutory auditor during the period of offense. He assisted the Guptas in illegally changing the loan funds from liabilities to assets by way of circuitous transactions.
He is also accused of intentionally concealing crucial financial facts from lending banks and also issuing false certificates for obtaining loans.
ED is looking at a total of 20 linked companies as part of the bank-loan fraud case.