Saturday, July 27, 2013

PMLA court freezes Rs 1.93 crore funds of Mumbai chitfund firm

Cracking the whip on fraudulent chit fund schemes and their operators, a special anti-money laundering court here has issued freezing orders on Rs 1.92 crore of cash deposits of Mumbai-based firm City Limouzines which allegedly duped hundreds of investors.

The Adjudicating Authority of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (Act), the judicial appellate court for Money Laundering offenses, issued the orders after the Enforcement Directorate attached the accounts of the firm after it finished its year-long probe in this case

This is the second such order by the authority in the recent past after it issued a similar directive freezing Rs 1.63 crore in bank accounts of owners of chitfund companies running in Haryana and Punjab which have allegedly cheated many people.

"....The defendants have, prima facie, committed the scheduled offenses, generated proceeds of crime and laundered them.Moreover, the cash balances lying in the accounts of Ms City Cooperative Credit Society LTD held with IDBI bank, and the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank LTD and three numbers of term deposits plus the interest accrued thereon with the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank LTD are involved in money laundering and, therefore, liable for attachment," the recent order issued by the court of authority member K Ramamoorthy said.

The total funds attached stand at Rs 1,92,63,294.31 and the ED will now take the possession of this amount.

The owner of the business, Sayed Mohammed Masood, had been arrested by the ED last year after the agency registered a money laundering case against him and others based on a compliant of the Economic Offenses Wing of Mumbai police.

The EOW, in its charge sheet filed in 2010 in this case, has said that it received approximately 28,000 complaints from investors alleging cheating by Ms City Limouzines (India) Ltd and other city group companies.

The police and the ED had said in their probe reports that the firms owned by Masood had floated various attractive but impractical schemes offering high returns which allegedly cheated investors to the tune of Rs 500 crore.

This case also made headlines as the ED for the first time was successful in locating accounts of the firms in Swiss banks and attaching them under criminal provisions of the Money Laundering Act.

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