NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested 11 people including employees of Pearls group and businessmen in connection with the Rs 60,000 crore Pearls Ponzi Scheme case.
The Pearls Group employees who have been arrested are Chander Bhushan Dhillon, Prem Seth, Manmohan Kamal Mahajan, Mohanlal Sehajpal, and Kanwaljit Singh Toor.
Apart from them, businessmen Praveen Kumar Agarwal, Mannoj Kumar Jain, Akash Agarwal, Anil Kumar Khemka, Subhash Agarwal, and Rajesh from Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kolkata.
According to the official, the CBI had previously registered a Preliminary Enquiry on the Supreme Court’s directions against Pearls Group, which had allegedly collected around Rs 60,000 crore from around five crore investors across the country by illegally operating different investment schemes without any statutory approval, with the intent to defraud them.
To entice the investors, the accused provided a land guarantee. People were promised that if they invested, they would receive a 12.5% interest rate. They were given free accidental insurance as well as income tax-free maturity on their assets. The accused also told the investors that the value of the land they were buying would quickly grow.
Based on the investigation, a case was then filed against Ms. PGF Limited, Ms. PACL Limited, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, and other directors of the Pearls Group’s two flagship firms.
In January 2016, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, Sukhdev Singh, Subrata Bhattacharya, and Gurmeet Singh were arrested after an inquiry. The CBI later filed its first charge sheet against them in April 2016.
The CBI had identified Nirmal Singh Bhangoo’s properties worth Rs 1.85 lakh crore in today’s market value across the country.
The accused had also made investments in Australian businesses.
Bret Lee, an Australian cricketer, was a Pearl Group brand ambassador, and the IPL side ‘Kings XI Punjab’ was also cosponsored by Pearl Group. Further examination of the case was continued in order to investigate the role of other accused in this multi-billion-dollar financial swindle, which had harmed the interests of millions of investors.
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