Court takes cognisance of charge sheet against Ambience group promoter in bank loan fraud case

Ambience group promoter, ambience group, bank loan fraud case, raj singh gehlot, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Enforcement Directorate

A Delhi court has taken cognisance of a charge sheet filed against Ambience group promoter Raj Singh Gehlot, arrested in a money-laundering case linked to an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 800 crore. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana took cognisance of the Enforcement Directorate‘s final report on Monday seeking prosecution of the accused under sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The judge, however, deferred the summoning of the accused persons and asked the probe agency to answer various queries before passing an order on that aspect.

“I take cognizance of the offence under sections 3 (money laundering) and 4 (punishment for money laundering). However, with respect to the issue of summoning the accused persons, certain queries have been raised with Special Public Prosecutor (SPP),” he said.

The court also noted that investigation against the banking officials was still underway and “the pending investigation would resolve the quandary emanating from the mutually contradictory statements of the bank officials involved in the instant matter.”

“With respect to the remaining issues, SPP seeks a short adjournment submitting that since the case involves voluminous record, he would go through it again and apprise this court. Consequently, the issue of summoning the accused persons is deferred for the time being,” the judge said.

The court will further hear the matter on October 5.

According to the Enforcement Directorate, the case against Gehlot, who is also a promoter of the Ambience Mall in Gurugram, is based on a 2019 FIR of the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Jammu against AHPL and its directors for alleged money laundering in the construction and development of the five-star Leela Ambience Convention Hotel located at 1, CBD, Maharaj Surajmal Road, near the Yamuna Sports Complex in Delhi.

The central probe agency had raided Gehlot, his company Aman Hospitality Private Limited (AHPL), some other firms of the Ambience group, director in the company Dayanand Singh, Mohan Singh Gehlot, and their associates in July last year.

The ED probe found that “a huge part of the loan amount of more than Rs 800 crore, which was sanctioned by a consortium of banks for the hotel project, was siphoned off by AHPL, Raj Singh Gehlot and his associates through a web of companies owned and controlled by them.”

“A substantial part of the loan money was transferred by AHPL to several companies and individuals on the pretext of payment of running bills and advance for the supply of material and work executed,” the agency had alleged.

The employees of the Ambience group and Gehlot”s associates were made directors and proprietors in these companies and Gehlot was the “authorised signatory” in many of these entities, it had said.

No material was supplied and no work was executed and almost the entire amount was immediately routed back to the entities owned by Raj Singh and Sons HUF (Hindu undivided family) and his brother’s son, it said.

“Money was further siphoned off through multiple layers in a complex web of group entities,” the ED said.

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