The ED conducted searches at the premises of Mittal and his companies at five locations in Noida, Ghaziabad and Kanpur after registering a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“We have found incriminating documents during our searches,” said the ED in a statement.
The alleged fraud was first detected by the Special Task Force (STF) of the UP Police.
Investigators said Mittal, his associates and companies were allegedly involved in cheating nearly 6.5 lakh investors of Rs 3,726 crore in name of promotion through ‘Likes’ on website links. The accused propagated a false story that the promotional webpages linked on the international social media portals pay Rs 6 per ‘Like’ out of which they pay Rs 5 to the investor. The investigators said that the accused promoted four systematic investment plans offering various incentives.
The ED said it stepped in secure the money paid by investors. The agency will look into all assets made by Mittal and his companies by defrauding investors and go for attachment of these assets as ‘proceeds of crime’ under section 5 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
“The ED is also coordinating with the Income-Tax authorities as well as UP-STF in this regard,” the ED said.
Investigators say Mittal was the brain behind the ponzi scheme that was allegedly being run through four companies. Mittal is now in judicial custody along with two other co-accused.
“A company named 3W was purchased for Rs 20,000 by Anubhav from a man in Delhi, a day before he was arrested. We don’t have much detail about 3W but we have written to the Registrar of Companies for more information. The address of Ablaze was at Chandni Chowk in Delhi till 2016 and later the address was changed to a shop in IP Extension, Delhi. During searches, the shop was found shut,” said RK Mishra, deputy superintendent of police, UP STF. Following the arrests, the authorities have put a freeze on bank accounts of Mittal’s company. Around Rs 500 crore were found deposited in the accounts.
Till Saturday, the STF received more than 2,500 complaints on a mail ID ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ which was floated for various investors to report any complaints in the case.
The officials said that the accused promoted a scheme whereby liking the webpage, which were fictitiously shown associated to international social media groups like Google and Facebook, the users would earn money.