The Enforcement Directorate has taken possession of 15 immovable properties owned by A Raja, former Union Cabinet Minister of Environment and Forest. In a post on X (formerly, Twitter), the ED said that the properties are “in the name of his benami company, Kovai Shelters Promoters India Pvt Ltd” and the attachment has been made “under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, in the matter of disproportionate assets case.” This attaching of the properties is “subsequent to confirmation of the provisional attachment order,” it said. 

ED had provisionally attached 45 acres of land near Coimbatore in December 2022, on the basis of an investigation that established that Raja, when he was the Union Environment Minister, granted environmental clearance to a Gurugram based real-estate company. ED’s case is that Raja received a bribe for giving the clearance. 

“It is found that Raja incorporated the company in the same year 2007 in the name of his family members and his close family friend, with the sole objective of using it as a vehicle to park the proceeds of crime.” the ED noted. It said that the benami company was never in any kind of business activity ever. 

“Thus, the properties in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, worth ₹55 Crore have been purchased directly using the proceeds of crime, (illegal payment made as quid pro quo for obtaining Environmental Clearances) have been provisionally attached by the Directorate. Further, investigation in the case in under progress.” ED said in its statement.