The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has formed four special teams to fast-track the probe into the Rs 45,000-crore Ponzi scam allegedly perpetrated by two Delhi-based firms, Pearls Agrotech Corporation Limited (PACL) and Pearls Golden Forest Limited (PGF).
The agency has already examined Chandigarh-origin Pearls Group’s managing director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo in connection with the scam.
The teams will investigate various aspects simultaneously, including the alleged siphoning off of a portion of the investments to countries such as Australia, said a senior CBI official.
The agency is likely to send letters rogatory to Australia soon, said a CBI source. The teams will work under an agency joint director, who is overseeing the probe conducted by the Banking Securities Fraud Cell.
“The worth of the Pearls firms’ scam is reckoned to be more than four times the worth of the Saradha chit-fund scam,” said the CBI official.
No arrest has been made in the probe yet, while a chargesheet is currently getting finalised, the CBI source said.
The CBI’s FIR registered in February last year had said that the two firms allegedly raised Rs 45,000 crore from their 5 crore investors by duping them with bogus land allotment letters.
The probe revealed that the firms were allegedly working as non-banking financial companies by accepting deposits in the garb of receiving payments against booking of plots.
The FIR had named Bhangoo, along with PACL director Sukhdev Singh and six other directors of the firms, for alleged cheating and criminal conspiracy. The firms have denied any wrongdoing.