Ashoka University to fundraise Rs1500 crore for expansion

ED arrests 2 Ashoka University promoters over bank fraud

October 30, 2023

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) detained two promoters of a Chandigarh-based pharma company and co-founders of Ashoka University, along with a chartered accountant in a money-laundering investigation related to an alleged bank fraud.

Official sources reported the ED’s extended searches at Ashoka University’s sites in Delhi and Sonepat, and their custody of Parabolic Drugs promoters Vineet Gupta (54) and Pranav Gupta (56), and CA Surjeet Kumar Bansal (74) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Following extensive questioning, a special PMLA court in Chandigarh remanded them to ED custody for five days. The ED raids covered 17 locations in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Panchkula.

The Guptas had resigned from Ashoka University in 2022, amidst legal action from the CBI in 2021. The ED filed a money-laundering case against them last year.

The ED claimed the directors defrauded banks through fabricated documents, converted loan funds into assets, and used their firms to divert and misuse the funds. The agency accused the CA of issuing false certificates to Parabolic Drugs, aiding in securing bank loans.

The ED informed the court that their actions caused a financial loss of Rs 1,626.74 crore to the Central Bank of India and other banks in the consortium.

While the defence counsel argued that the arrests were invalid due to resolved insolvency proceedings, the ED sought a remand to continue investigations.

The Ashoka University responded by noting the ED’s inquiries and distancing itself from Parabolic Drugs, stating it has no connection with the ongoing investigation.

The ED suspects a transfer of funds related to the bank fraud case to the university and is examining transactions to linked companies, while the university clarified that the individual businesses of the founders have no association with the institution.

Also read: Haryana: Higher education dept accuses Ashoka University of ‘financial embezzlement’

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