New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached two massive properties - one in Karnataka's Mysuru and another in Kerala's Wayanad - owned by Michael Floyd Eshwar, a former horse trainer at Mysore Race Club, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a case of cheating a British national of Dutch origin.
The properties -- measuring 220.19 acres and amounting to Rs 117.87 crore -- comprise a house on Hyder Ali Road (Abba Road) in Mysuru and a coffee plantation in Wayand district.
The ED has also attached around 70 invaluable animal trophies and furniture made of rosewood.
The ED initiated the probe on the basis of a chargesheet filed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bengaluru, before the CJM, Mysuru City, against Eshwar and others under various sections of the IPC and Wild Life Protection Act.
An FIR was registered by the Nazarabad police station, Mysore City, based on a complaint received from late Edwin Joubert Van Ingen, a British national of Dutch origin, who was residing in India. Van Ingen was a taxidermist for the Maharaja of Mysore.
Following orders of the Supreme Court, an investigation was conducted by the CID, Benguluru, which revealed that Eshwar had created a false adoption deed in his favour and also got a false death certificate of Edwin Joubert Van Ingen to fraudulently get his properties transferred in his name.
Eshwar, who was training horses in Mysore, came to know about Van Ingen and the properties held by him which were gifted by the Maharaja of Mysore for his services.
After Eshwar came to know that Van Ingen was unmarried, he took advantage of his old age and fraudulently took possession of his property by way of cheating.
Investigations conducted under the PMLA revealed that Eshwar, in connivance with others, cheated Van Ingen and breached the trust of confidence.
In this manner, Eshwar fraudulently acquired two immovable properties from Van Ingan. He also projected the properties as untainted properties and thus committed offence of money laundering, a press statement said.
Van Ingen died on March 12, 2013, aged 101, without any progeny to inherit his wealth. Eshwer grabbed the land by allegedly forging documents.
The fraudulent attempt came to light when a section of employees of the Wayanad estate came out against it.
Adding to the mystery of the case, Van Ingen died a day after he filed a complaint at the Nazarbad police station, Mysuru, against Eshwar for allegedly taking over his land through a forcibly executed gift deed in 2006.
Investigations revealed a criminal conspiracy, for which sleuths arrested Eshwar. They later arrested N. Chandrasekhar, director of a Mysuru hospital, for conspiring with Eashwer to execute the gift deed.