The ED on Friday attached assets worth over Rs 55 crore in connection with its probe in the alleged Rs 3,700 crore ponzi scam perpetrated by a Noida-based firm which had promised money in lieu of ‘likes’ on social media to lakhs of gullible investors. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had in March attached assets worth Rs 599 crore. With this attachment, the total value of seized assets in the case has gone up to over Rs 654 crore.
A provisional attachment order issued by the central probe agency’s Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh (Lucknow zonal unit) said an amount of Rs 40 crore lying in a Yes bank account, Rs 5.09 crore funds kept in an escrow account of ICICI bank, fix deposit receipts of Rs 3.61 crore and a commercial property in Greater Noida worth over Rs 6 crore has been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The value of assets attached under Friday’s order is over Rs 55.43 crore, a senior official said. The case involves a firm named Ablaze Info Solution Private Limited and it is owned by the alleged kingpin of this alleged Ponzi scam case — Anubhav Mittal. Mittal has already been arrested.
Mittal, the agency had said, had collected “several thousand crore of rupees from the customers of his company by false inducements and later siphoned off the same by means of generating false or bogus bills/invoices with the assistance of various persons who are under scrutiny.”
The ED had on January 5 registered a criminal case under the PMLA based on an FIR of the Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force (STF) which had first unearthed the alleged illegal ponzi or multi-level marketing scam. “The modus operandi of the accused according to their business scheme as alleged were that through their web portal they promoted a scheme where by liking the webpage, which were fictitiously shown associated to international social media groups like Google and Facebook, the users will earn money.
“The accused persons propagated a false story that the promotional web pages linked on these international social media portals pay Rs 6 per likes out of which they pay Rs 5 to the investment/user,” the agency had said.
The probe agency had said the fraudsters allegedly cheated about 6.5 lakh gullible investors of an estimated Rs 3,700 crore, a fraud bigger in value than the infamous Saradha chit fund scam of West Bengal and Assam which is pegged at Rs 2,500 crore.