The CBI has filed a supplementary chargesheet against 24 people in connection with a Rs 60,000 crore Ponzi scam allegedly run by the Pearls group, officials said on Wednesday.
In the chargesheet filed before a special CBI court here, the central probe agency has also named three companies, Pearls Infrastructure Projects Ltd, ARSS Infrastructure Projects Ltd and Jain Infraprojects Ltd, they said.
The supplementary chargesheet names 11 accused businessmen who were arrested on December 22, 2021.
It is alleged that Pearls group companies allegedly collected around Rs 60,000 crore (approx) from around 5.5 crore investors all across the country by illegally operating different investment schemes, without any statutory approval and allegedly with a motive to dupe the investors, CBI spokesperson R C Joshi.
“It was alleged that the accused were the co-conspirators in this scam, who aided the prime accused and others in illegally operating investment schemes for earning quick and easy money, inducing investors to invest their funds in such investment schemes which offered lucrative returns to the investors and thereafter in diversion of such funds through dubious means with the motive of misappropriation,” Joshi said.
Besides the three companies, those named in the charge sheet include Pearls group executives Harchand Singh Gill, Chander Bhushan Dhillon, Prem Seth, Gurjant Singh Gill, Balvir Singh, Tarlochan Singh, Mohanlal Sehjpal, Kanwaljit Singh Toor, Gurpratap Singh, Harsatinder Pal Singh Hayer, Sukhwinder Kaur, Barinder Kaur, Gurnam Singh and Joginder Tyger.
It also named businessmen Praveen Kumar Agarwal, Anil Kumar Khemka, Mannoj Kumar Jain, Akash Agarwal, Subash Agarwal, Rajesh Agarwal, Prateek Kumar, and Brajendra Singh Bhadouriya, private person Janeshwar Dass, and chartered accountant Manmohan Kamal Mahajan.
The CBI had arrested Bhangoo, CMD of Pearls Golden Forest Ltd (PGF) and ex-chairman of Pearls Australasia Pty Limited, along with Sukhdev Singh, MD and promoter-director of Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd (PACL), Gurmeet Singh, executive director (finance) and Subrata Bhattacharya, ED in the PGF/PACL on January 8, 2016.
The CBI has alleged that the companies illegally collected huge funds from crores of investors from across the country under the garb of sale and purchase of agricultural land and promise of high returns, Joshi said.
These companies were allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities, including forgery in their illegal operations, he said.
“Investigation also revealed that the accused persons fraudulently diverted the alleged funds collected under the aegis of Jaipur based private company (PACL) for purported investment in Australian companies. It has been alleged that 132.99 mn AUD (approx) found to have been diverted to Australian companies,” he said.
A chargesheet was filed against the accused, including private companies, on April 7, 2016 following which the CBI focussed on looking at other aspects of the financial crime and role of other accused in it, the officials said.
During the investigation, it surfaced that the investments were received by the said Pearls group from investors against fraudulent and false sale of agricultural land and development of such land on behalf of investors.
“It was also alleged that no land development work was executed and funds were diverted by routing the same through several shell companies controlled by different entry operators/other associate companies/groups. These companies were not into execution of land development work and worked only as conduits for illegal diversion of funds,” Joshi said.