New Delhi :
The Pearls group, accused of involvement in a Rs 45,000 crore ponzi scam, might have diverted investors’ money to purchase properties worth thousands of crore of rupees, with a CBI probe showing the company bought 66 offices in the posh Connaught Place alone.
During the questioning of Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, CMD of PGF Limited and ex-Chairman of Pearls Australasia Pty Limited besides others, CBI has found that the company had purchased large tracts of land in the national capital, offices in posh localities and farm houses at Delhi-Gurgaon border, sources said.
They said questioning of Bhangoo along with Sukhdev Singh, MD and Promoter-Director of PACL, Gurmeet Singh, Executive Director (Finance) and Subrata Bhattacharya, ED, who are in CBI custody in the 45,000 crore alleged ponzi scam, has shown that the company purchased 553 acres of land in outer Delhi.
The sources said the company was allegedly planning to develop about 482 acres of this land under the Land Development Policy of Delhi Government.
The company had 44 offices in Gopaldas Bhavan, 11 in Indraprasth Building, six in Antariksh Bhavan and five in Statesman house—all located in the posh Connaught Place,they said. All these offices were used by Pearls group companies.
The company was also found to have purchased a 11.5 acre farmland in Rajokari at Delhi-Gurgaon border. They alleged Bhangoo had also bought a farmhouse at Rajokari from tainted Haryana politician Gopal Kanda, who also might be examined in connection with the case.
During the probe against the group in the last two years, CBI has found 1300 “suspect” bank accounts of the 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. In addition, Rs 108 crore has been deposited with Delhi High Court.
Sources said the agency has seized 20,000 property documents showing investments to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore.
They said the group had interest in cricket and Kabaddi leagues. It was the main sponsor of one of the leading teams playing in a cricket league in the country. The group, which has interests in Australia, had hired a well-known pace bowler from down under as its brand ambassador.