Kolkata: In the biggest such criminal action against Ponzi schemes, Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached 2,631 bank accounts of the Rose Valley group containing Rs 295 crore under the stringent provisions of the anti-money laundering law.
The attachment order issued by the Kolkata Zonal office of the agency under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has frozen a total of 2,631 bank accounts, both in private and public sector, in the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Tripura, Assam and Himachal Pradesh
A total of Rs 295 crore money held in these accounts have been sealed by the agency with immediate effect, official sources said.
"This is the biggest-ever attachment done by the agency under criminal laws of money laundering in the country till now," the sources said.
The ED, according to the attachment order accessed by PTI, has found that the Rose valley group had floated a total of 27 companies for running the alleged chitfund operations out of which only half-a-dozen were active.
All the attachments made today by the central probe agency, the sources said, involved two firms-- Rose Valley Estate Construction Limited and Rose Valley Hotel and Entertainment Private Limited.
The ED, the sources said, has found that the firm had allegedly floated the scheme by promising inflated returns on investments between 8 and 27 per cent to gullible investors in various states.
The company, the ED probe found, had promised such astronomical returns to depositors by promising "enhanced returns" on land properties and assets and bookings done in the real estate sector. The ED has pegged the total volume of the alleged irregularities at Rs 15,000 crore.
The probe found that the company had made "cross investments" in its various sister firms to suppress its liabilities towards investors.
The attachments have been done under Section 5 of PMLA and sources said the agency, through its Special Director (East) Yogesh Gupta, had informed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on blackmoney about the alleged irregularities involving the company.
The attachment order will now be sent to the Adjudicating Authority of PMLA in Delhi for final approval and till then these accounts will remain untouched.
The agency filed a money laundering case against the firm early this year after going through multiple FIRs filed by various state police departments against the activities and ponzi schemes floated by the group.