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The Enforcement Directorate on 23 June informed to have arrested Bengaluru-based real estate group Mantri Developers Pvt. Ltd.'s director Sushil P Mantri in a money laundering probe linked to alleged duping of numerous homebuyers.

Mantri was produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Bengaluru, which sent him to the ED custody for 10 days, it said in a statement.

Earlier, money laundering case against the group and its promoters in March by ED after studying a Bengaluru police FIR registered against them in 2020.

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"Many homebuyers have filed complaint with the police as well as with the ED alleging that accused entities/persons are involved in money laundering and have induced the prospective buyers with rosily painted schemes, showing misleading brochures, falsification of delivery time lines and window dressing and collected more than 1,000 crore as advance money from thousands of buyers," the ED alleged.

"However, they have not been given possession of their flats even after 7-10 years," the ED added.

According to the ED allegations, the firm offered various "Ponzi-like schemes which was named as buy-back plan and advance money was collected for the flats/homes."

Also, the firm has not refunded the amount to the buyers even after clear direction of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in some cases.

The ED probe found that the amount collected from the buyers by the company which were meant for construction of the projects have been diverted for personal use by the management of the company or for such other fraudulent purposes and hence the project is stalled.

As per the details, the firm has total outstanding loans of about 5,000 crore from various financial institutions, out of which about 1,000 crore is overdue and some of the loan has been termed non-performing asset (NPA), the ED said.

"The company has cross-collateralised its assets to different financial institutions for taking multiple loans on same assets," it said.

With inputs from PTI.

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