Mumbai: In a major success in black money probe, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has successfully attached around Rs 166 crore kept in a Singapore bank in connection with money laundering probe in a city-based ponzi scam case.
The amount, which was attached under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), pertains to the City Limousine chitfund case and a probe was underway against the Chairman of chitfund, Sayed M Masood for floating illegal ponzi schemes by promising extraordinary returns.
"The agency has attached USD 26.3 million (about Rs 166 crore as of today) lying in the Singaporean bank account of Ms Optimum Finance Ltd in connection with City Limousine Ponzi scheme case. This is a major achievement vis-a-vis overseas money laundering and financial crimes probe," sources said.
Incidentally, a team of ED sleuths had only last week travelled to Singapore to carry out the attachment orders in coordination with their local counterparts.
"The Singaporean authorities have been very helpful in this case and the agency had been able to satifsy them about the criminality in this case and about the tainted status of funds lying in a bank in their land," they said.
The agency's zonal officer here, in the same case, had attached Rs 6 crore lying in a Swiss bank account in 2012.
The central probe agency considers these funds to be the "proceeds of crime" of the offence of money laundering.
The agency is investigating the case as it suspects that "by floating ponzi schemes offering astronomically high returns, Ms City Limousines (India) Limited and Ms City Realcom Limited, its Chairman and other directors of the companies have cheated thousands of investors across the country of funds to the tune of hundreds of crores." An attachment, under PMLA, ensures that such assets or properties cannot be used by the accused and they cannot take any benefits from the assets, and such an order can be challenged by the accused at the adjudicating authority of the PMLA within a period of 120 days.
The agency's Indore office had recently attached a land worth Rs 1,000 crore in the US in a money laundering case of similar nature.