ED Charge sheets Pearls Group In Rs 48,000 Cr Ponzi Scam
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a charge- sheet against Pearls Group and its chief Nirmal Singh Bhangoo in connection with a ponzi scam involving over Rs 48,000 crore on Wednesday.
Bhangoo and three of his colleagues are in judicial custody, and several of his commission agents have also been named in the ED chargesheet filed in a special court here under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED, started the probe following the lodge of an FIR in 2015 based on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s case, had in January attached Australia-based assets of Pearls Group and Bhangoo worth Rs 472 crore.
The CBI had arrested Bhangoo and his three colleagues in 2016 following allegations that they collected funds from investors in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and other states through ponzi schemes, in the name of real estate projects.
Bhangoo, his companies PACL and PGFL, and lakhs of his commission agents were accused of cheating 5.5 crore investors on the pretext of sale and development of agriculture land.
They did not own any land in their own name, even then the companies made false allotments of land to investors.
Bhangoo and his companies promised the investors that allotment would be done on their investment between 90 and 270 days and if not, handsome returns would be paid.
The ED said the promoters and directors of PACL and PGFL collected more than Rs 48,000 crore of funds from investors all over the country through a collective investment scheme in the garb of sale and development of agriculture land. Earlier the amount was estimated over Rs 45,000 crore.
“Of the total funds, PACL invested Rs 164 crore in Pearls Infrastructure Projects Limited (PIPL) for acquiring 25.37 per cent shares and the remaining 74.63 per cent shares of PIPL were acquired indirectly by PACL through its 43 front companies for an investment of Rs 493.18 crore. In total, PIPL received Rs 657.18 crore from PACL during 2009 to 2014,” said an ED statement.