The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 3.92 crore of former Odisha MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal and a media company under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in a ponzi scam case, officials said on Saturday.
The ED has provisionally attached movable as well as immovable assets worth Rs 3,92,20,000 belonging to Pravat Ranjan Biswal, erstwhile MLA, Cuttack and Media Guru Consultants Pvt Ltd under PMLA, 2002 in a ponzi scam case. The total attachment in the case is now Rs 261.92 crore, the agency said in a tweet.
According to a statement issued by the ED, the attached assets include bank balance of Rs 25 lakhs at SBI Cuttack Branch belonging to Biswal and one immovable property belonging to Media Guru Consultants in Noida.
The ED said the companies generated proceeds of crime and diverted the money into acquiring different movable and immovable properties.
"They fraudulently and dishonestly collected huge amount from the general public out of which Rs 25 lakhs was diverted to the former MLA and his family members and Rs 4 crore was diverted to Media Guru Consultants Private Ltd to set up a news and current affairs TV channel named STV Samachar," it said.
Investigation was initiated under PMLA, 2002 on the basis of FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Odisha Police's Economic Offence Wing (EOW) and the CBI against M/s Seashore Group of Companies which were involved in the process of money laundering.
The companies were engaged in fraudulent collection of deposits from the "gullible" public in the guise of issuance of preferential shares by enrolling the depositors as members of cooperative societies.
They were neither registered as Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) nor listed in the National Stock Exchange (NSE), and were not authorised to collect public deposits, the agency said.
Subsequently, the companies suddenly closed down their business and defaulted in return to depositors after maturity, failing to pay even interest on the deposits despite repeated request and approach of the depositors.
Notably, the CBI had attested Biswal on September 19, 2017 for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore chit fund scam and alleged complicity with the tainted firm Seashore. Later, he was granted bail.