Hyderabad: In a revelation of sorts, the Central Bureau of Investigation has booked an Enforcement Directorate officer for demanding a bribe of Rs 5 lakhs from an accused in the instant loan app case. CBI levelled criminal charges against Enforcement officer Lalith Bazad- serving in ED's Bengaluru unit.

To begin with, ED took up investigation under money laundering against certain Instant loan app firms based on FIRs registered by Telangana police. The case was entrusted to officer Manoj Mittal –Deputy Director–ED Bengaluru. Meanwhile accused officer Lalith Bazad was assisting Mittal in the said investigation.

The fraud originated, when Lalith issued summons to one Mikhil Innani- Director of Apollo Finvest –Mumbai, with a direction to appear for questioning. However, the said document was signed by Investigating officer Manoj Mittal.

Following the summons, Mikhil along with his wife Deeksha and cousin brother Harish Inanni visited the ED's Bengaluru unit on 9th February 2021. They were called to room no.6 where they met Lalith Bazad.

On the same evening, Mikhil and family flew back to Mumbai however stumbled upon a Whatsapp call from Lalith, who demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to defreeze the company's bank account frozen by ED. Meanwhile Mikhil replied to the calls as he was compelled to arrange the amount demanded by Lalith, he told the investigating agency.

Investigation revealed that accused officer Lalith, used the phone one Mithun Nayak–working as a waiter at Level Pub and Kitchen–JP Nagar to call Mikhil. "Lalith shared his location to Mikhil through WhatsApp using Mithun's phone. The scam was orchestrated in a way that, a parking staffer of the said building-Sagar was made to accept the bribe amount of Rs 5 lakh. The money was kept in the car of Lalith", said CBI's investigation.

Who delivered the money?

A person by name Manvender Bhati delivered Rs 5 lakhs to Lalith based on the instructions of Benguluru based jeweller Rajendra Jain, who was in-return instructed by one Sunil-owner of a granite business in Hosur. The latter (Sunil) was originally directed by one Harish Innani who turns out to be the relative of Mikhil.

Why was the bank account of Mikhil seized ?

The bank account of Apollo Finvest, a Mumbai based company was frozen by ED Bengaluru unit in the multi-crore instant loan app case. Ironically, the account was de-frozen on 9th of February after Mikhil's visit to Lalith.

"It is revealed that a threat of freezing the accounts and false implication in the case was used by Lalith Bazad to demand and accept illegal gratification from Mikhil, CBI said. The CBI booked a case under 17 –A of Prevention of Corruption Act against ED officer Lalith Bazar.

Instant Loan App Case:

The Telangana police registered multiple FIRs against certain Chinese based firms and their Indian associates following a significant number of suicides reported in the state. These firms provided instant loans to takers however subjected to threatening them during recovery. Many Chinese firms were found to violated Indian rules. The Telangana police have arrested at-least 7 prime accused in the case said and booked multiple companies.

Coreena Suares

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