The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested four persons in connection with a Rs 45,000-crore Pearls ponzi scam case.
The arrest came after hours of questioning in the agencies headquarters in Delhi as there were “contradictory and inconsistent responses on key queries.”
The arrested were Nirmal Singh Bhangoo chairman-cum-managing director Sukhdev Singh, MD and promoter-director, Gurmeet Singh, executive director (finance) and Subrata Bhattacharya, ED of the two Pearl group companies.
“The case involves alleged collection of Rs 45,000 crore from about 5.5 crore investors. The case was registered under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of IPC,” CBI officials told Indian Express.
This comes nearly two years after the CBI had lodged a FIR against two Pearls Group real-estate firms on charges related to criminal conspiracy and cheating.
The agency could establish that the firms were allegedly running collective investment (ponzi) schemes under the garb of sale and development of agricultural land in an illegal manner.
“The inquiry found prima-facie evidence of the accused firms having raised investments by issuing bogus land allotment letters to induce the investors,” a source within the CBI told Hindustan Times.
“Funds collected from new investors of the firm were allegedly used to repay the earlier investors of the other accused firm to stave off criminal prosecution,” the source added.
HT further reported that the group was earlier associated with the cash-rich IPL and hired a former Australian cricketer as its face.