New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against Delhi-based journalist Upendra Rai and his associates and is conducting searches at premises linked to him in Delhi and Noida, officials said on Friday.
Rai is in judicial custody after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested him on charges of alleged extortion and manipulation of an Income Tax Department case against a Mumbai-bound businessman.
[pullquote]Upendra Rai is a 36-year old Indian journalist and writer. He runs his own media house, The Printlines Media Group, as its Chairman and Editor-in-Chief. Earlier he worked as CEO and Editor-in-Chief at Tehelka. He has been with the Sahara News Network as its Group CEO and Editor-in-Chief, looking after the functioning of Sahara Samay television channel along with Samay UP/Uttarakhand, Samay Bihar/Jharkhand, Samay MP/CG, Samay Rajasthan, Aalami Samay and Rashtriya Sahara Hindi daily. He resigned from the Sahara News Network in June 2016. [Wikipedia][/pullquote]
ED officials said the agency has charged Rai and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and taken cognisance of two first information reports (FIRs) by the CBI. Raids were being conducted at multiple premises like Greater Kailash-1 in the national capital and in adjoining Noida.
The agency will probe if the accused had created tainted assets by laundering money, the officials said.
Earlier, the CBI had booked Rai and the Chief Security Officer of a private aviation company for allegedly indulging in dubious financial transactions of over Rs 100 crore and getting access to the sensitive airport entry passes made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by furnishing false information.
The CBI had also conducted raids at eight locations in Lucknow, Noida, Delhi and Mumbai offices and homes linked to Upendra Rai and interrogated him.
CBI’s FIR also alleged that Rai had obtained temporary and permanent Aerodrome Entry Pass (AEP) fraudulently. Rai allegedly accessed the sensitive AEP on the basis of false information.
In another FIR, the CBI had charged Upendra Rai with blackmailing and extorting Mumbai-based real estate firm White Lion Real Estate Developers’ owner Balvinder S Malhotra. The seven-page FIR of CBI’s Anti-Corruption Wing of Delhi says that Malhotra was forced to give Rs.15 crore to Upendra Rai as “consulting fees”.