Sanjay Madan was the information technology leader on Ontario’s Support for Families program’s computer application, which gave $200 and $250 cheques to parents to help with pandemic-related education expenses last spring.

The ex-bureaucrats charged in the alleged theft of $11 million in Ontario COVID-19 relief funds have spent more than $1.1 million on their legal defence — and now seek an additional $1.4 million.

That’s according to documents filed Tuesday with the Ontario Superior Court by Crown prosecutors who want to limit Sanjay and Shalini Madan from gaining further access to their assets.

The Madans, a married Toronto couple, were fired from their computer specialist jobs at Queen’s Park in 2020 after an alleged fraud of pandemic aid.

In civil court filings, the province alleges that “some or all of” the Madans, their adult sons Chinmaya and Ujjawal, and associate Vidhan Singh, also of Toronto, funneled millions of dollars to thousands of TD, Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, Tangerine, and India’s ICICI bank accounts in 2020.

Ontario Provincial Police have also charged Sanjay Madan with two counts of fraud and two counts of breach of trust. He and Shalini Madan were also charged with laundering the proceeds of crime and possession of stolen property.

Singh was charged with money laundering, fraud and possession of stolen property and Manish Gambhir of Brampton was charged with possession of stolen property and possession of an identity document related — or purported to relate — to another person.

While Chinmaya and Ujjawal do not face any criminal charges, they are part of the civil action. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

None of the province’s allegations has been proven in civil or criminal court.

Until his sacking, Sanjay Madan was the $176,608-a-year technology leader on the Support for Families program, which gave parents $200 per child under age 12 and $250 per child and youth under 21 with special needs for online educational expenses early in the pandemic.

In civil court testimony, which cannot be used against him in the criminal case if it violates his charter-protected rights against self-incrimination, he said he “relaxed” computer security so more payouts could go to the same bank accounts.

“There were a lot of possible applications coming in because people … discovered that there were a lot of loopholes,” Sanjay Madan told the civil court in January 2021.

“I thought there may be an opportunity to take the funds out … it looked like easy money for me.”

Shalini Madan, who was terminated from her $132,513-a-year IT job, has denied any involvement in the alleged theft and is suing the province for wrongful dismissal, seeking more than $5 million in damages.

Their sons, who voluntarily resigned from lower-level computer jobs at Queen’s Park two years ago, are suing for $1 million each from the government, citing “psychological” harm by being named in the civil action.

A provincial government court injunction, obtained in the civil case, has frozen $28 million in the Madans’ assets in Canada and India.

That includes $12.4 million in cash in Indian bank accounts, an $8-million Waterloo apartment complex, a seven-bedroom house in North York valued at $2.57 million, and six Toronto condominiums worth about $3 million.

According to the new court documents, the Madans would like to sell the North York home and one of the condos to fund their defence.

But Crown lawyer Christopher Wayland alleged the purchase of those properties may have used cash “obtained by fraud” through an elaborate “kickback scheme” that pilfered an additional $30 million dating back to 2010.

Wayland contends Sanjay Madan and Singh, who denies the allegation, operated a consulting business scheme that hired government computer contractors in exchange for “secret commissions” from preferred vendors.

In his factum, the Crown lawyer said “to date, the court has released to the Madan defendants $846,479.32 for their civil defence and $258,500 for the criminal defence.”

“They now seek an additional amount in excess of $1.4 million for their civil and criminal defence,” said Wayland.

“While the criminal accounts estimate the cost for bringing the matters to their conclusion, it is premature at this stage to release funds for the preparation for trial which is not set to commence until the fall of 2023,” he said.

“More importantly, both accounts submitted on behalf of Sanjay and Shalini Madan indicate that they are currently engaged in resolution discussions, which may alleviate the need for a trial at all.”

Wayland argued the North York house could be sold, but only $242,226.35 “from the equity” be released to the Madans with the rest of the proceeds being held by the court.

A judge is expected to rule on the matter this summer.

Christopher Du Vernet, the Madans’ lawyer, has countered that the province is trying to thwart the couple’s ability to mount an adequate legal defence.

“The Ford government is trying to starve the Madans into submission rather than fight it out on the merit,” Du Vernet argued last summer.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie


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By Jon Doe