THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate on Thursday raided the houses of its former deputy director Gurnam Singh, advocate Puneet Sharma and an advocate’s assistant, Ramesh Chandel, in Mohali in connection with the Rs 600-crore ponzi scam, said a top ED official in Chandigarh.
The ponzi scam had once been probed by Gurnam Singh during his deputation in Chandigarh between 2012 and 2017. He was also booked by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case in November 2017. The houses raided were that of Gurnam in Phase-2, Puneet’s in Sector 77 and Chandel in Omega City near Kharar, all in Mohali.
The top ED official, requesting anonymity, said, “The role of former ED officer Gurnam Singh, advocate Puneet Sharma and Ramesh Chandel came under the scanner when we arrested one of the accused involved in the ponzi scam, Kamal K Bakshi of Ambala. Apprehended by the ED in July 2017, Bakshi is still lodged in Model Burail Jail.
Besides Bakshi, we questioned some other suspects also and they all spilled the beans on Gurnam Singh and two others. During the verification of disclosures of Bakshi and others, we came to know that Gurnam, Puneet and Chandel had procured money and property systematically from suspects involved in the scam at the behest of giving them benefit during the investigation. Our probe also concluded that Chandel, merely an assistant to an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, got a property registered in his name from one of the suspects with the connivance of Gurnam and Puneet Sharma.
We cannot exactly reveal how much money was received by Gurnam and Sharma from the suspects at this stage. The probe in this case is being monitored by senior ED officers in Delhi.” Bakshi, the first to be arrested in the ponzi scam, was made by the ED after the repatriation of Gurnam in July 2017. He was repatriated to his parent cadre, CFSL, in January 2017. Gurnam had joined the ED on deputation and got a posting in Chandigarh in 2012.
Sources in the ED said, “The ponzi scam of Rs 600 crore is against a Malaysia-based company, Uni Pay Group, headed by Dr Preshnath Arunmugam, the main accused in the scam. He floated two firms, Unipay 2U Marketing Private Ltd and Unigateway2U Trading Pvt Ltd, in India. The first FIR in this scam was lodged by Chandigarh Police in July 2012 and later, the matter was forwarded to the Enforcement Directorate when some investors, based in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2014. Kamal K Bakshi of Ambala, one of the agents of the Uni Pay Group in this region, was apprehended by the ED.”
Repeated attempts were made to contact Gurnam on phone but in vain. Gurnam hit the headlines when he moved the High Court, seeking a stay on the repatriation of his transfer from Chandigarh to his parent cadre in Delhi in December 2016.