The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets valued at over Rs 239 crore of a firm linked to TMC MP KD Singh in connection with a money laundering probe into an alleged ponzi scam case pegged at over Rs 1,900 crore, the agency said on Monday.
The ED said in a statement it has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attaching properties "situated at various places like Chandigarh, Panchkula, Derabassi, SAS Nagar (Punjab), Shimla and also bank accounts in HDFC Bank against Ms Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd."
The total value of the attached assets is Rs 239.29 crore, it added.
The central probe agency had last year summoned the Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, now sidelined in the Trinamool Congress (TMC), as part of these investigations. While Mr Singh had resigned from the post of Chairman of the Alchemist group in 2012, his Rajya Sabha profile mentions him to be the Chairman, Emeritus and founder of the business group.
The ED's probe against Mr Singh and the firm (Ms Alchemist Infra Realty Limited) dates back to September, 2016 when it filed a criminal case under the PMLA taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed against the company, its directors and others by market regulator SEBI.
"Investigation revealed that the proceeds of crime generated by Alchemist Infra Realty Ltd were laundered through the web of companies. Investigations also revealed that the funds mobilised by the firm from various investors were never utilised for the purpose for which they were collected and the same were transferred to bank accounts of other group companies which were mainly paper companies from where they were systematically siphoned off by the accused and used to purchase properties at various locations in the country. "All such assets in Punjab, Haryana , Shimla and bank accounts in HDFC Bank worth Rs 239.39 crore identified during the course of investigations have been provisionally attached," the ED said in a statement.
It has been alleged by the probe agencies that the company launched an illegal collective investment scheme, also called a ponzi or chit fund scheme, and mobilised funds of about Rs 1,916 crore from the public in the years preceding 2015.
The firm allegedly launched the scheme "without the approval" of the SEBI and led to cheating of gullible investors.
In 2015, the firm had informed the SEBI that it had refunded Rs 1,077 crore after the market regulators investigation and had sought more time to restore the rest of the amount, which was turned down by the SEBI.
Subsequently, a charge sheet was filed by the SEBI before a court here in March, 2016.
The ED, in the past, has questioned a number of officials and people linked to the realty firm. Further investigations in the case is "under progress", the agency said.
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