Blackmoney: Lilawati Hospital trustees raided, SC told

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it has taken action on the complaint of alleged money laundering by the trustees of Mumbai`s Lilawati Hospital and raids were conducted in this regard.

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2011, 18:58 PM IST

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme
Court that it has taken action on the complaint of alleged
money laundering by the trustees of Mumbai`s Lilawati Hospital
and raids were conducted in this regard.

"Certain raids were conducted and documents have been
seized," Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said.
The response came when a bench headed by Justice B
Sudarshan Reddy asked about the government`s stand on a plea
Delhi resident Harsh Raghuvanshi, a practising lawyer, seeking
a probe into the alleged siphoning of funds by the trustees
Prabodh Mehta, Rashmi Mehta, Chetan Mehta and Bhavin Mehta.

Subramanium said the government would file its response
on this aspect of the case within a week.

The apex court had on April 6 issued notices to the
Centre and RBI on the petition seeking a probe into the
alleged money laundering by the trustees of the Hospital.

It has also sought a response from the Ministry of
Corporate Affairs, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central
Board of Direct taxes and SEBI on a plea seeking an
investigation by appropriate agencies into the alleged tax
evasion and money laundering by the trustees.
It was alleged in the petition that the Mehtas have
siphoned off money from the hospital and through the hawala
route it has been deposited in banks abroad including
Mauritius and Liechtenstein Bank.

Raghuvanshi, in his petition, said there were several
media reports suggesting existence of ample evidence to
substantiate that banking institutions like ING Vyasa,
IndusInd Bank and charitable trusts like Lilavati Hospital may
have become a money laundering vehicle.

The petition said SEBI guidelines for mutual funds and
the Companies Act clearly mandate that individuals convicted
of offences cannot hold office of directors and gave the
example of Prabodh Mehta who was convicted by a Belgium court
and sentenced to six months for money laundering, fraud and
forgery in connection with diamond business.

The petitioner claimed that since 2002 to 2010 the
Mehtas`, through bogus and inflated bills, were purchasing
medicines, pharmaceuticals and surgical equipment worth Rs
70-80 crore every year through more than 400 small medical
shops, out of which 250 of them are situated in the slums of
Dharavi.

"In the last eight years, on a total purchase of over
Rs 500 crore, Mehtas` have siphoned off at least Rs 250 crores
through inflated and bogus bills," the petition claimed.

PTI