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ED freezes Essar Power MD Pradeep Mittal’s Rs 62-crore shares for defrauding State Trading Corp

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday froze shares worth Rs 62 crore of Managing Director of Essar Power Pradeep Mittal, and of Global Steel Holding & Associated Cos. (Source: ANI/Twitter)

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday froze shares worth Rs 62 crore of Managing Director of Essar Power Pradeep Mittal, and of Global Steel Holding & Associated Cos under the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) in the case of defrauding State Trading Corp, news agency ANI reported. The decision was taken on Thursday evening after CBI arrested Pradeep Mittal and an Income Tax Commissioner B B Rajendra Prasad in a bribery case of Rs 2 crore for allegedly getting a favourable tax order from the latter recently, as was reported by another news agency PTI.

Prasad, who is a 1992 batch Indian Revenue Service officer handling appeals related to tax matters in Mumbai office, had allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 2 crore for an order favouring Balaji Trust of which Essar group is the main trustee, PTI report said citing an unidentified CBI source. However, Balaji Trust denied allegations regarding “any misconduct” by their executives. “They are innocent and the company stands by them,” Balaji said in a statement, adding that CBI will come to the same conclusion after the investigation is complete.

On the other hand, CBI had registered a case of corruption against Pradeep Mittal; B B Rajendra Prasad; Balaji Trust; chartered accountants G K Choksi and Shreyas Parikh; Essar group accounts officer Vipin Bajpai; real estate dealer Suresh Jain, and his relative Manish Jain. CBI had inputs about Prasad’s bribe demand and hence were keeping an eye on him, the source told PTI.

CBI, in its FIR has said that the trust was managing its affairs through a chartered accountancy firm run by Choksi, whose associate Parikh was actively involved in the case. The FIR also says that Mittal was monitoring developments on behalf of the trust, and was also giving instructions to his employees, and Choksi and Parikh using his phone. “During searches, remaining amount of Rs 1.5 crore (approx), earlier received by the agent on behalf of the Commissioner (Prasad), was also recovered,” CBI Spokesperson R K Gaur said in New Delhi.

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