Ahmedabad: A ponzi scheme named `Ek-ka-Teen`, being run by a conman proclaiming himself to be an incarnation of a Hindu goddess, has landed in the net of anti-money laundering authorities in Gujarat.
The chit-fund fraudster had cheated gullible investors of over Rs 25 crore over the years saying the goddess had given him powers to triple the money which is offered as `prashad` to him by the devout.
A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi has issued orders for attachment of assets of Ashok Jerambhai Jadeja of this district, at present lodged in Sabarmati jail, for perpetrating the fraud in this area and luring innocent investors of the `Chhara` community from across the country into the con scheme.
The scheme was called `Ek-ka-teen` as Jadjea floated that the money would be tripled in three days.
The Sarkhej police had registered a case in this regard in 2009 and its probe had found that Jadeja "projected himself as the incarnation of goddess Vahnavati Skiotar Mata and branded himself as Jaymadi-Ashok madi and thereby created confidence among the members of Chhara community hailing from Gujarat and other states.
"He had claimed that goddess Vahnavati Sikotar Mata was pleased with him and that she wanted to make members of the Chhara community millionaires. Accordingly, whosoever offered money as prashad to the goddess, would get triple of the amount in three days.
"The gullible members of the community invested their hard earned savings and borrowed money. As the crowd of investors started swelling, he (Jadeja) raised the number of days from 3 to 7 and then to 25," the police investigation report said.
The police found that Jadeja had gobbled a total amount of Rs 25,25,68,000 by this con method and then purchased gold and silver ornaments, vehicles, immovable properties and stashed the money in bank accounts in his name and of his family members.
The investors upon realising that they have been cheated attacked Jadeja and lodged a police complaint against him after which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money laundering case against him.
Jadeja, according to the ED charge sheet, had carried out the act with the help of his wife, brothers and sisters-in-law.
The special money laundering court in Delhi, the adjudicating authority of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, confirmed orders for attaching Jadeja`s accounts and assets worth Rs 2.45 crore, with certain conditions placed by CBI and state police.
The court of Acting Chairman K Raamamoorthy termed these assets of Jadeja as "proceeds of crime" and confirmed the ED action of freezing the assets under stringent money laundering provisions.
This is the fourth big order by the special court against chit-fund fraudsters in the recent times after the menace gained limelight in the wake of Saradha investors being allegedly duped in West Bengal.