Haryana: ED Seized 19.5 Kg Gold Worth ₹14.04 Crore From Cyber Fraudster's Locker

Haryana: ED Seized 19.5 Kg Gold Worth ₹14.04 Crore From Cyber Fraudster's Locker

The locker was maintained in the name of his mother at the Ballabgarh branch of Indian Bank in Faridabad, Haryana. ED initiated an investigation based on FIRs lodged throughout India, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, etc.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, May 06, 2024, 10:43 PM IST
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Haryana: ED Seized 19.5 Kg Gold Worth ₹14.04 Crore From Cyber Fraudster's Locker |

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized 19.5 kg of gold valued at Rs 14.04 crore from a locker belonging to a cyber fraudster, Puneet Kumar. The locker was maintained in the name of his mother at the Ballabgarh branch of Indian Bank in Faridabad, Haryana.

Punit Kumar, also known as Puneet Maheshwari, a resident of Moti Nagar in the national capital, was arrested on April 3 at the Arrival Hall, Terminal-3 of IGI Airport, while returning from Nepal. He was produced before the Delhi PMLA Court on the same day and granted ED custody for 12 days. He is presently under judicial custody.

The seizure follows specific intelligence indicating that Punit Kumar has hidden the proceeds of cybercrimes in the form of gold in a locker held at Indian Bank under his mother's name. ED initiated an investigation based on FIRs lodged throughout India, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, etc.

Punit Kumar was involved in defrauding the general public through various cyber fraud schemes, subsequently laundering the proceeds of crime, and siphoning off the same out of India. He devised a distinctive method of defrauding individuals, utilizing servers located in the UAE to orchestrate scams, with a parallel system established in India to support the syndicate's operations in the UAE.

Punit Kumar is one of the important kingpins within a syndicate responsible for orchestrating a series of cybercrimes and online gaming schemes across India between the period 2020 and 2024, amounting to huge illicit gains of Rs. 4,978 Crore, all of which has been siphoned off abroad.

Additionally, previous searches conducted under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, at 14 locations in February and March 2024 resulted in the confiscation of various assets. These include foreign-made gold bars totaling eight kg valued at Rs 5.04 crore found at Punit Kumar's premises, cash amounting to Rs 75 lakh, jewelry, high-end luxury watches, luxury vehicles like Mercedes, Audi, and Kia, along with incriminating documents and electronic devices containing evidence.

These actions are part of a money laundering scheme involving foreign-based online gaming companies exploiting Indian residents. ED investigation revealed that numerous fake PAN cards, Aadhar cards utilized in the establishment of shell entities, which were used for layering of Proceeds of crime and siphoning off the same abroad, mobile devices employed for managing bank accounts of these entities, and office stamps were also seized during these operations.

To evade detection, individuals involved in these activities have resorted to using remote-based servers and laptops accessed through remote desktop applications like Anydesk and TeamViewer. In this instance, two such remotely accessed laptops were recovered and seized from the premises of the entity providing server services, located distant from the actual operational sites.

In-depth investigations have unveiled that Punit Kumar, Ashish Kakkar (who was arrested on 02.03.2024), and others have facilitated outward remittances from the proceeds generated through cybercrimes.

For the purpose of siphoning off the proceed of crime, they imported huge number of consignments declaring high value items (e.g. Rose Oil, Solar Panel machinery) from Dubai, Hong Kong, China etc. in various Special Economic Zones such as SEZ Mundra, SEZ Kandla etc. and subsequently exported the same from the SEZs itself.

They have sent outward remittances against imports to the tune of Rs. 4978 Crore but no inward remittances have been realized against export of goods from SEZ. In this way, they are also involved in circular trading by way of import-export for the purpose of Hawala transactions.

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