The ED on Thursday said it has attached an asset of TMC youth leader Vinay Mishra and his arrested brother Vikas Mishra in a money-laundering case linked to alleged cattle smuggling across the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal. The agency said a provisional order for the attachment of the immovable property located at 1, Dharamdas Row in Kolkata has been issued by it under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In a statement, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said the property was ”acquired by them (the Mishra brothers) in May, 2017 by way of shares purchase of a company called Anant Tradecom Private Limited”. ”The shares of this company were acquired by the Mishra family by paying the consideration of Rs 3.5 crore to the earlier shareholders,” it said.
Describing the link of the brothers with the cattle-smuggling case, the agency alleged that ”between October, 2016-March 2017, Vinay Mishra and Vikas Mishra received funds amounting to Rs 6.1 crore from cattle smuggler Md Enamul Haque”. ”For purchasing the shares of Anant Tradecom Private Limited, funds were layered by way of accommodation entries from two Kolkata-based shell companies and by way of cash deposits in the accounts of the members of the Mishra family,” the ED alleged.
The property that has been attached was acquired by the Mishra brothers by ”laundering” the proceeds of crime, it claimed. The two are being probed both by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in this case and Haque was arrested by the CBI in November last year.
In a chargesheet filed before a special court in West Bengal’s Asansol, the CBI had alleged that Haque was the mastermind of the illegal cattle trade and was assisted by two other accused in alleged connivance with Border Security Force (BSF) Commandant Satish Kumar, who was posted at the Murshidabad and Malda regions of the state. Some others have also been named in the CBI chargesheet in connection with cattle smuggling that is rampant along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
Vinay Mishra, who has not joined the probe in the case by the two agencies till now, has been named as an accused by the CBI in a supplementary chargesheet filed recently. The role of the brothers is also being investigated by the two central agencies in an illegal coal mining and pilferage case.
Vikas Mishra was recently arrested by the ED here in the latter case. The agency has claimed that the brothers received ”proceeds of crime worth Rs 730 crore on behalf of some influential persons and for themselves” in the alleged illegal coal-mining case involving an estimated amount of Rs 1,300 crore.
These actions come as the eight-phase election to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly is set to begin on March 27.