New Delhi, Oct 21:
A special money laundering court here has ordered freezing of bank accounts of Sudipta Sen, the arrested chairman of Saradha group embroiled in an alleged chit fund scam, to allow probe agencies to complete investigations against the firm.
Two bank accounts were placed under attachment by Enforcement Directorate (ED) sometime back. The accounts, in Sen’s name in a private bank in Odisha’s Balasore, had a total amount of Rs 27,752.80.
The ED, which is investigating the case for alleged money laundering in the alleged chit fund scheme, suspects this to be “proceeds of crime” and wants these accounts to be kept frozen till the probe is completed.
The Adjudicating Authority of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) here, a judicial body to decide on stringent enforcement action like freezing of assets, upheld the preventive action done some time back by ED’s Kolkata office.
“I perused the documents produced and the reasons for retention/freezing and I am convinced that they are prima facie involved in money laundering and are therefore required to be retained for the purpose of enquiry under the PMLA,” Acting Chairman of the Authority K Raamamoorthy said in his latest order.
Some other computer-related hardwares have also been seized by the agency for investigation purposes after searches were conducted in the premises of the Saradha group in May.
An investigation report on the business operations of the company had said four companies of the Saradha group used to mobilise money through three schemes — ‘fixed deposit’, ‘recurring deposit’ and ‘monthly income deposit’ — which lured innocent depositors with promises of either “landed property or a foreign tour” as incentive returns.
The alleged scam, which saw lakhs of investors getting duped, came to light in April after which Sen was arrested along with two others from Jammu and Kashmir.
A host of agencies like the Corporate Affairs Ministry’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Finance Ministry’s ED and Income Tax department, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and special police units in WB, Assam and Odisha are probing Saradha Group’s collective investment fund schemes and other depository businesses for fraud and cheating. (PTI)