The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties worth over Rs 8 crore of the Bengaluru-based Ajmera Group in connection with a money-laundering probe against it linked to an alleged multi-crore Ponzi case.
An agricultural land, a residential plot, 13 bank accounts and a demat account “held in the name of Ajmera Groups, its partners and others” have been provisionally attached by the probe agency under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), ED said.
ED attaches under PMLA, an agricultural land, a residential plot and balances in bank accounts belonging to M/s Ajmera Groups totaling to ₹ 8.41 Crores in a Ponzi Scheme Case.
— ED (@dir_ed) December 22, 2020
The ED case comes from an FIR and charge sheet filed against the company and its promoters Tabrez Pasha, Abdul Dastagir, Tabrez Ulla Shariff, Syed Mudasir, Syed Muthahir and Fairoz Khan for collecting funds from 1,148 depositors and “failing” to return Rs 29.17 crore.
The police case was filed under various sections of the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act, 2004 (KPIDFE) and the Price, Chits and Money Circulating Banning Act of 1978.
“Ajmera Groups illegally collected deposits worth Rs 256.06 crore from various persons by luring the gullible investors with a promise of higher rate of interest (upto 20 per cent per month),” the ED said in a statement.
“Such higher rate of interest was not possible in any prudent way and the accused company failed to return Rs 29.17 crore to the depositors,” the agency said.
It said that the “illegally collected” amount was deposited in various bank accounts.
“Investigations revealed that these funds were embezzled and transferred to various unrelated accounts of Ajmera Groups or the depositors and further invested in immovable and movable properties,” the ED alleged.
The accused can appeal against the ED issued provisional order before the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA within six months.
In the past one year alone, a number of such companies in Bengaluru have systematically targeted the city’s Muslim community and attracted them to invest in their firms, inducing them in the name of ‘halal’ investment.
In January 2018, Capital Plus and Capital Infrastructure, a firm promising similar high returns on investment duped over 200 investors of over Rs. 300 crores. In September 2018, Morgenall another so-called ‘halal’ investment company shut down its office, and the owners went untraceable. In 2019, the IMA multi-thousand crore scam came into light. Injaz International, Aleef, Aala Ventures, Ambidant, Burraqh, and several other companies have allegedly siphoned off large sums of money.