The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday took possession of 15 immovable properties owned by DMK MP and former Union Minister A Raja. The properties were registered in the name of his Benami company, Kovai Shelters Promoters India Private Limited.
‘A ‘Benami’ property is not a property in which the real beneficiary is not the one under whose name the property has been purchased.
The central agency invoked provisions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 in a disproportionate assets case against the former Union Minister and took possession of the assets.
As per the ED, Raja, during his tenure as the Union Minister of Environment and Forests between 2004 to 2007, granted environmental clearance to a real estate company in return for “kickbacks” which he received from the company in the garb of land commission income in the hands of the Benami Company founded by him.
The ED investigation revealed that Raja incorporated the company in the name of his family members and his close family friend, with the sole objective of using it to park the proceeds earned through unlawful means. The company has never engaged in any business activity since inception.
It further revealed that assets, measuring about 45 acres of land in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore (worth around Rs.55 Crore), were purchased from the proceeds of the “kickbacks” which he received.