Bengaluru: ED attaches assets worth Rs 35 crore in Ponzi scheme scam | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday provisionally attached assets worth Rs 35.7 crore of Vikram Investments and the accused persons under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act-2002 in connection with the Ponzi scheme scam which came to light in March 2018.
About 2,420 people, including several high-profile personalities, had invested around Rs 417 crore. Of which Rs 331 crore was paid back to the investors as profits and the remaining Rs 86 crore had allegedly been embezzled by the suspects.
According ED officials, the attached immovable properties having value of Rs 34.2 crore are in the form of land, office spaces and residential flats in various places in Bengaluru and movable assets are in the form of bank balances and fixed deposits of Rs 1.5 crore.
The ED had initiated a probe on the basis of an FIR registered against the firm and other suspects on March 3, 2013 in Banashankari police station. Raghavendra Srinath, founder-director of Vikram Investments, and his associates KP Narasimhamurthy, M Prahlada, KC Nagaraj and Sutram Suresh were arrested on the charges of cheating the public by luring them to invest in Vikram Investments, promising high returns under the guise of commodity trading.
The suspects offered returns to the extent of up to 30-35% per annum. However, they are not registered with any of the regulatory agencies including RBI. They ensured that customers would get back their first instalment as promised. This earned them trust and lured customers to invest even more after which the company would stop paying them back money, including the principal amount. Initially, the company paid profits to the existing investors out of funds obtained from its new investors. The company used insurance agents and others who would convince their friends and family to invest and paid a commission. According to the ED, Srinath had deliberately delivered an exceptionally huge amount of net profit of Rs 35 crore to one R Krishna which was not possible in any prudent way.
The scam came to light in early March when PR Balaji, a businessman from south Bengaluru who had invested Rs 11.7 crore, filed a case of cheating with Banashankari police who arrested the accused. All are out of jail on bail. Twenty-one FIRs were registered at various police stations and later the case was handed over to the CID.

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Sagar Biswas

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