The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday said it has seized Rs 1.21 crore cash and gold and diamond jewellery worth more than Rs 5 crore after it raided some Nagpur-based persons in a money laundering case linked to alleged investment fraud that cheated numerous investors.
The searches were launched on March 3 at 15 places in Nagpur and Mumbai and covered the premises of "main accused" Pankaj Mehadia, Lokesh Jain, and Karthik Jain apart from the main beneficiaries, it said in a statement.
The money laundering case stems from a Nagpur Police FIR field against Pankaj Nandlal Mehadia, Lokesh Santosh Jain, Kartik Santosh Jain, Balmukund Lalchand Keyal, Premlata Nandlal Mehadia in a case of "fraud causing loss to investors in crores of rupees." "Pankaj Mehadia along with other accomplices was running a Ponzi scheme and lured various investors by promising to give 12 per cent assured profit after deducting TDS on investments made from the year 2004 to 2017," it alleged.
"Throughout the period of 2005 to 2016, with the malafide intention of cheating and siphoning off the investors' money, the accused persons ran the ponzi scheme giving assured returns to win over the investors and thus luring the investors to invest in larger amounts in the associated firms/companies and ultimately did not return the money," the federal probe agency alleged.
It said, "in order to divert the money and to give the transactions a tinge of legitimacy, transactions worth more than Rs 150 crore have been affected in the bank accounts and it is suspected that most of these transactions are not backed by genuine business deals and are in the nature of accommodation entries." The search operation led to the recovery of gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs 5.51 crore, about Rs 1.21 crore cash, digital devices, and some documents, the agency said.
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