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Rajasthan CM's Elder Brother Agrasain Gehlot Appears Before ED in Money Laundering Case

The senior Gehlot, accompanied by a lawyer, appeared before the ED at around 11:30 AM.  (Hindi News18)

The senior Gehlot, accompanied by a lawyer, appeared before the ED at around 11:30 AM. (Hindi News18)

His statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s elder border Agrasain Gehlot appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Monday for questioning in a money laundering case probe against him and others that is linked to alleged fertiliser export irregularities, official sources said. His statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the sources said.

The senior Gehlot, accompanied by a lawyer, appeared before the ED at around 11:30 AM. Agrasain Gehlot had been earlier questioned in this case but he had approached the court seeking relief from the ED action.

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The sources said that the Rajasthan High Court recently asked him to cooperate with the agency in the investigation as it directed the ED not to take any coercive action against him. The agency had raided his businesses located in Rajasthan in July last year. The raids came when a political slugfest was then on between CM Ashok Gehlot and his then deputy CM Sachin Pilot in the desert state.

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The ruling Congress in the state had said it will not be scared of such actions undertaken by central probe agencies. Agrasain Gehlot’s son Anupam too had deposed before the agency in this case.

The ED action of last year came after it filed a criminal case under the PMLA based on a 2007-09 Customs department case where it was alleged that irregularities took place in the procurement and export of subsidised Muriate of Potash (MOP) meant for farmers and investigation in this case was finalised in 2013. It took cognisance of the Customs FIR and a charge sheet (filed on July 13, 2020) in this case to press money laundering charges and probe a “smuggling syndicate" allegedly linked to Agrasain Gehlot, his firm Anupam Krishi and others.

The agency had said the case pertained to fraudulent export of MOP, a restricted commodity for exports, in the guise of industrial salts to buyers based in Malaysia and Taiwan. Its export is restricted so that it is available to Indian farmers, they had said.

Agency sources said Agrasain Gehlot and his firm were slapped with over Rs 60 crore in penalities by the Customs for these alleged export irregularities in 2013. It was alleged by ED sources that Gehlot’s company allegedly “diverted" 35,000 metric tonnes of MOP that had a value of Rs 130 crore in the international market.

The ED claimed that Gehlot, in his capacity of being a dealer, was the custodian of the MOP and was “solely responsible" for its proper distribution to the farmers and his alleged connivance with a company Saraf Impex Pvt Ltd and others resulted in the diversion of MOP that was imported by Indian Potash Limited at concessional rate of duty.

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first published:September 27, 2021, 17:43 IST