ED chargesheets Pearls Group under PMLA in Rs 450 billion ponzi scam

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against the Pearls Group and its chief Nirmal Singh Bhangoo in connection with a ponzi scam involving over Rs 450 billion, which was collected allegedly by two companies from 55 million investors.

Apart from Bhangoo, who is in judicial custody, his three colleagues and other persons have also been named in the ED chargesheet filed in a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED, which started the probe after lodging an FIR in 2015 based on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) case, had in January attached Australia-based assets of the Pearls Group and Bhangoo worth Rs 4.72 bn.

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, as well as his lakhs of commission agents were accused of cheating 55 million investors on the pretext of sale and development of agriculture land.

The companies made false allotments of land to investors. However, the companies never owned any land in their own name.

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.

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