Refusing to grant bail to Omkar Group promoters Babulal Varma and Kamalkishore Gupta, almost a year after their arrest in a money-laundering case, a special PMLA court has observed that since economic offences are products of wise brains and highly-qualified people are involved, their release will not be safe for the trial.
“Huge public money Rs 410 crore were basically generated as proceeds of crime and then laundered by the applicant and his associates,” special judge MG Deshpande said in two orders.
The two were arrested in January this year. The ED in its chargesheet against businessman Sachin Joshi, Varma
(51), Gupta (62) and 14 firms alleged that Omkar promoters allegedly took Rs 410 crore from Yes Bank to construct rehabilitation buildings under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme at Wadala but diverted the money to their other group companies. Joshi allegedly helped Omkar Group to launder Rs 87 crore. The loan money was used for other purposes, alleged the ED.
ED’s special public prosecutors Hiten Venegaonkar and Kavita Patil strongly opposed the bail pleas.
The court said that the role played by Prabhadevi resident Varma emanates prima facie material on how public money is siphoned by generating proceeds of crime and further laundering the same that too, by making false representation to the authorities about eligible tenements. “All actions of the applicant [Varma] egregiously show deep-rooted criminal conspiracy with other accused persons and Yes Bank officials, management,” the court said. The court noted he was the MD of M/s Omkar Realtors and Developers Pvt Ltd and held held 99% shares in Surana Developers, (Wadala) LLP. It said that he fraudulently represented to the SRA a false number of eligible tenements to increase the tenements density beyond 650 per hectare for getting an FSI of 4 from the SRA.
The court made similar observations against Nepean Sea road resident Gupta, chairman of Omkar Group and director in Surana Developers (Wadala) LLP. “Saleable area is also falsely declared as 3.5 lakh sqft that led to availing of credit of Rs 410 crore from Yes Bank in the name of Surana Developers (Wadala) LLP on the basis of notional FSI and misdeclared saleable area…using same as collateral to have maximum amount of credit from the Bank,” the court said. The court held that Gupta was, thus, involved and assisted activity of generating, placement, layering and integrating of proceeds of crime.