Millennium Post

Punishing scamsters

Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had finally arrested India’s biggest scamster Nirmal Singh Bhangoo and three other top officials in connection with Rs 60,000-crore chit fund case after a baffling silence for almost two years. The development had come after the Supreme Court found that Pearl Agrotech Corporation Limited (PACL) failed to refund Rs 49,000 crore to investors. While the probe agency aggressively conducted raids and arrested accused in several other chit fund cases in West Bengal, Pearl Group chairman Bhangoo remained untouched for two years. In October 2014, this newspaper had broken the story on how the CBI had “compromised” India’s biggest Rs 47,000-crore ponzi scam investigation. Curiously, Pearl group chairman Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, against whom the CBI had registered a case on February 19, 2014, for allegedly duping over five crore customers by promising them land and goods, had remained a free man till last week.  Bhangoo’s story is quite remarkable. Approximately three decades ago, Bhangoo was a milk seller near the Indo-Pak border in Attari in Punjab. In 1996, he founded PACL, which was known as Gurwant Agrotech back then and sold magnetic pillows, among other products. Subsequently, Bhangoo diversified into real estate and hospitality and now owns more than 183,000 acres of land across India. However, chit fund-related schemes, like the one promoted by Bhangoo’s company, are notorious for duping investors with promises of high returns. Suffice to say, duping the common man of his hard earned money for fraudulent purposes cannot go unpunished. One now hopes that the Centre maintains its investigative vigour in the Bhangoo case, similar to how it went after the scamsters in the Saradha case.
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