ED attaches Rs 5.7 cr worth assets of TN-based sea cucumber smuggler

National |  IANS  | Published :

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said that they have attached immovable assets worth Rs 5.7 crore belonging to a Tamil Nadu-based smuggler of sea cucumber, Villayutham, and his family members in connection with a PMLA case.

The attached properties includes vacant plots, agricultural lands, and buildings including a Hotel run in the name of Hotel Ramajayam in Rameswaram.

Investigation was initiated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, against Villayutham and others on the basis of multiple FIRs registered by the Tamil Nadu Police and Wildlife Authorities from 2008 till 2022.

"Investigation revealed that Villayutham, a smuggler and habitual offender had generated proceeds of crime by indulging into smuggling and trading of Sea cucumbers. The collection and trade of Sea cucumbers are strictly banned in India since 2001 and they are a marine species protected under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act," said the official.

There is a high demand for the sea cucumbers in Singapore, China and other Far eastern countries.

The said proceeds generated in cash was later layered and channelled into the banking system and was used to repay loans in cash, and to acquire properties including a Hotel.

Villyutham was arrested on March 13 after being found guilty of offence of money laundering and is currently in judicial custody.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

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