For three days, they kept claiming that the Rs. 300 crore invested by corporate and high net-worth individuals (HNIs) in Shivraj Puri's fraudulent accounts. Now, however, it seemed that the police have now lost the trail of about 95% of that amount.
According to sources, the 81 accounts seized by the Gurgaon police, so far, contains only about Rs. 10 crore.
Puri had duped Citibank customers to put the money into his relatives' accounts, saying the bank would give higher returns for the investment.
Although Puri admitted he was still to pay about Rs. 250 crore to his "clients", he said he had duly returned to his clients Rs. 150 crore, including the profits in the last couple of months.
"I was fully confident of returning the money. However, Citibank intervened and started investigations, putting every thing on hold," Puri said.
Involvement of such a huge amount has the investigating team perplexed. "On the first day of investigation, we had seized 18 accounts, which were with Citibank. However, these accounts contained only Rs. 3.85 crore. We then seized more than 60 accounts and had asked the different banks to give us details of the money lying in these accounts," said a senior police officer. On Friday, the police was informed that those accounts only had about R5 to R6 crore.
"Which means at least Rs. 290 crore is parked somewhere else. Now we need to scan the transaction details of over 81 accounts that is a lengthy process. We were hoping we would get the money in the remaining 60 accounts," the officer said.
Now the police are waiting for a response from brokerage firms, as these firms could have further invested the money.
The police found that most of the amount went to Religare and Bonanza and said it was now to be probed if "they invested it (the money) further or it is with them".
"That is why we had called the representatives of these two firms," the officer said.
However, a spokesperson of Religare said: "In the course of the transactions with Religare ... the settlement of Puri's accounts was also being done in the normal course. As on October 15, 2010, there is a balance of Rs. 0.30 in his account. There has been no trading transaction in his account since October 1, 2010."