The frozen assets include cash kept in 71 bank accounts, over a dozen properties in cities like Delhi, Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), Goa and Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), commodity trading funds and a number of demand drafts, life insurance policies and fixed deposits in the name of main accused of the case Ullas Prabhakar Khaire alias Lokeshwar Dev and his wife Priyanka Saraswat alias Raksha J Urs, their alleged associates and the firms they floated for business.
The assets, with an assessed value of over Rs 100 crore, were first frozen last year by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after it registered a criminal case against the accused taking cognisance of the 2011 Delhi Police FIR made on the complaint of duped investors.
"On a thorough perusal of the provisional attachment order, complaint, the FIR and the charge sheet, the investigations conducted by ED and the statements recorded... and on careful consideration of the arguments advanced on behalf of the complainant (ED) and defendants (Khaire and associates), undersigned comes to the prima facie conclusion that the defendants have committed the scheduled offences, generated proceeds of crime and laundered them.
"No doubt, the properties attached are proceeds of crime or value thereof and are involved in money laundering," the court of adjudicating authority of PMLA Mukesh Kumar said in its recent order.
The authority is the judicial body to decide on cases of strict enforcement action.
The agency, in its complaint to the special anti-money laundering court said that "the money collected by Stock Guru India from the investors by alluring them with very high returns was as such not used for any business purpose like investing in stock market or commodity trading but was distributed for personal benefits of the partners of Stock Guru India along with their main accomplices."
ED had earlier recorded the statements of the couple while they were lodged in Tihar Jail in judicial custody.
The agency's action to attach these properties under PMLA is aimed at depriving the accused of the benefits of these assets which are alleged to have been created through the "proceeds of crime" and duping investors of their hard earned money.
"From the facts and circumstances (of the probe), it is apparent that the movable and immovable assets acquired by Lokeshwar Dev, Priyanka Saraswat Dev and their associates in their names/in their joint names or in the name of other entities are the proceeds of crime generated by duping innocent investors to invest in their lucrative schemes with the guilty intention of considering the same as their own earned money, and therefore, working with a plan of not repaying them the same and utilising the same for their won personal gains," the ED said in its complaint.
The Delhi Police, according to the complaint, had received about 15,000 complaints from cheated and duped investors in the case after which it was transferred to the Special Economic Offences Wing in 2012.