CBI unearths real estate group's ponzi scheme worth Rs 45,000 crore

Written by Express news service | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 28 2014, 13:57pm hrs
ScamPearls Agrotech Corp and Pearls Golden Forest allegedly used ponzi schemes to cheat nearly 5 crore investors of Rs 45,000 crore.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday claimed to have recovered documents from the premises of Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd (PACL) and Pearls Golden Forest Ltd (PGF) which show the real estate group allegedly used ponzi schemes to cheat nearly five crore investors of Rs 45,000 crore.

The CBI has named PGF director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo and PACL director Sukhdev Singh besides six other directors of the companies in a case of criminal conspiracy and cheating.

"Initial investigation by CBI has revealed an alleged scam to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore in a case relating to an alleged fraud by Delhi-based private company and others through raising investments... through collective investment scheme under the garb of sale and development of agricultural land," a CBI spokesperson said.

The agency said the inquiry was carried out on the orders of the Supreme Court into allegations that the companies had collected crores of rupees through deposits from public at large through their ponzi scheme promising land.

"It was revealed that PGF, on being directed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana to wind up the scheme and refund the money to the investors, a similar fraudulent scheme was operated under the name of PACL with office at Barakhamba Road," a CBI spokesperson said.

It is alleged that funds collected from new investors of PACL were used to repay the earlier investors of PGF to stave off criminal prosecution. The agency has carried out searches at the offices of PGF and PACL at their offices in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mohali, Ropar and Jaipur.

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had raised concerns over legality of PACLs operations since it was running a collective investment scheme in the garb of a real estate company. (With PTI inputs)