Pearls scam: CBI to send Letters Rogatory to Oz
Cracking a whip on Pearls group, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has decided to send Letters Rogatory (LR) to Australia to seek details of Pearls Group’s activities there as it suspects Rs 670 crore collected from public for developing land and forests has been diverted to that country.
Agency sources said that Pearls group chief Nirmal Singh Bhangoo was allegedly running real estate business –portable housing projects –in the name of his relatives in Australia and also reportedly owned a hotel on Gold Coast.
The sources further said that the agency is probing business dealings of Bhangoo through which public money might have been diverted, including TV channel P7 News, a joint venture with Australian company Global Road Technologies (GRT) International and PHT LifeStyle.
GRT is based somewhere between Gold Coast and Brisbane and had entered into a joint venture with Pearls Group, which is facing probe for allegedly duping over five crore investors to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore. They said the alleged diversion of funds to Australia also took place through Global Road Technologies.
Directors of Pearls Group companies PACL and PGF allegedly collected funds from people in the garb of sale of land and forests to them and “deliberately and dishonestly diverted” funds to Australia without informing the investors, the sources said.
The agency will soon be sending Letters Rogatory to Australia seeking information about his business interests, companies suspected to be working with him, assets etc. Letters Rogatory is a document issued by a court of a sovereign country to a court in another nation seeking legal assistance in probing a crime. The sources also said that, if needed, LRs will also be sent to Dubai in this connection as it is investigating the diversion of some funds there.
During the probe in the last two years, CBI has found 1,300 bank accounts of the suspect company, its directors, and associated firms, they said, adding the agency has frozen assets (mostly Fixed Deposit receipts) to the tune of Rs 280 crore and an additional Rs 108 crore has been deposited with the Delhi High Court.
The central probe agency sources said that the agency has managed to seize 20,000 documents related to properties whose purchase value was estimated at Rs 5,000 crore.
Millennium Post was the first to report in October 2014 that CBI had compromised India’s biggest ponzi scam case worth Rs 47,000 crore as even after a case was registered by the probe agency for allegedly duping five crore customers, Pearls group MD Nirmal Singh Bhangoo was not arrested even for a day.