NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Harchand Singh Gill, director of a Pearls Group company, who was deported from Fiji in connection with a Rs 60,000 crore ponzi scam allegedly orchestrated by the parent firm, according to officials.
Gill was absconding in the case and had an open dated Non-Bailable Warrant of Arrest against him issued by a special court, the officials said.
A team of CBI officials had gone to Suva in Fiji to bring Gill after being deported from the archipelago under ‘Operation Trishul’ and was placed under arrest after landing in India.
The operation was launched by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to bring back fugitives living abroad, and around 30 fugitives were successfully brought to India under the operation since its launch last year. The operation aims to geo-locate proceeds of crimes and fugitives with the help of Interpol and bring them back.
The CBI had got a ‘Red Notice’ published against Gill through Interpol, the officials said. The agency started the investigation against the Pearls Group and its founder Nirmal Singh Bhangoo on February 19, 2014, on the allegations of cheating Rs 5.5 crore gullible investors by offering them land in return for their investments.
The agency has alleged that over Rs 60,000 crore was siphoned off by the company by duping the investors across the country. Gill allegedly conspired with other directors of the company to operate the collective investment scheme illegally without any statutory approval, a CBI spokesperson said.
According to CBI, the searches conducted by the agency in February 2014 at the office premises and residences of directors and other suspected places in Delhi, Jaipur (Rajasthan), Chandigarh, Punjab, and Haryana led to the recovery of huge records and data relating to deposits from the public and their misutilization and diversion of funds, besides other incriminating documents.
“Investigation also revealed that the accused fraudulently diverted the alleged funds collected under the aegis of Jaipur based private company for purported investment in Australian companies. It was also alleged that 132.99 million AUD (approx) was found to have been diverted to Australian companies,” the CBI spokesperson said.
The investors had not allegedly received any land allotment letter from the company, and almost all the investors to whom the company had allotted the land were unpaid. Most of the land was either non-existent, government land, or not sold by the owner, according to the CBI spokesperson.
It was also alleged that there were more than 23 lakh enrolled commission agents, and out of them, more than 1,700 were top-level field associates, and several of these top-level commission agents used to get monthly commissions in lakhs of rupees.
The CBI is continuing its investigation into the Ponzi scheme allegedly orchestrated by the Pearls Group and its founder Nirmal Singh Bhangoo. The agency is determined to bring all the accused to justice and recover the money swindled from gullible investors.
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