Maharashtra: ED Conducted Search Operations At Multiple Locations In Kolhapur, Pune And Nashik Targeting VIPS Group Of Companies

Maharashtra: ED Conducted Search Operations At Multiple Locations In Kolhapur, Pune And Nashik Targeting VIPS Group Of Companies

The accused allegedly lured people into ponzi schemes and forex trading with promises of high returns, collecting over Rs 100 crore in bank accounts of various bogus firms and entities.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Friday, May 03, 2024, 08:45 PM IST
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Enforcement Directorate (ED) | File Image

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted search operations at multiple locations at Kolhapur, Pune and Nashik, at the VIPS Group of companies, including M/s. Global Affiliate Business, M/s. Kana Capital, Real Gold Capital, and Phoenix FX, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The operations, which began on 2nd May, come as part of an ongoing probe into alleged bogus ponzi and multi-level marketing schemes, along with illegal forex trading platforms.

ED Raids Uncover Multi-Crore Money Laundering Network Linked To Vinod Khute

During the search operations, ED officials seized cash, bank funds, fixed deposits, jewellery, and various incriminating documents and digital devices, totaling an estimated Rs. 5 Crore. The investigation revealed that Vinod Khute, believed to be residing in Dubai, is the mastermind behind these illicit activities. Vinod Khute is allegedly suspected of establishing multiple companies, including M/s VIPS WALLET Pvt. Ltd., M/s VIPS TRADE Finance Private Limited (M/s VTFPL), M/s Kana Capitals Limited, M/s Global Affiliate Business (GAB), VIPS Securities, and VIPS Properties, among others, to conduct illicit financial activities. 

Funds collected from investors were allegedly routed through shell companies and dummy accounts to conceal the illicit nature of the transactions. They were then transferred out of India to Dubai through hawala operators in exchange for cryptocurrency, evading regulatory scrutiny and facilitating money laundering. The ED's search operations uncovered a network of distributors involved in enticing the public to invest in these illegal schemes.

Funds Collected By Ed Through Various Bogus Shell Entities

Funds were collected through various bogus shell entities, with transactions structured to ultimately withdraw proceeds into cash and then syphon them off to Dubai through conversion to crypto, digital assets, or Hawala channels.The ED has quantified the proceeds of crime at over Rs 100 crore, which Mr. Khute allegedly used for personal expenses, running his companies, and acquiring properties in Dubai and India. The ED initiated its investigation based on an FIR registered by the Bharti Vidyapeeth police station in Pune against Vinod Tukaram Khute, Santosh Khute, Mangesh Khute, Kiran Pitamber Anarase, Ajinkya Badadhe, and others for cheating and criminal conspiracy.

ED Targets Ponzi Scheme Mastermind

The accused allegedly lured people into ponzi schemes and forex trading with promises of high returns, collecting over Rs 100 crore in bank accounts of various bogus firms and entities. Earlier actions by the ED in this case included search operations and three Provisional Attachment Orders, resulting in the attachment of various bank balances and immovable properties of Vinod Khute and his relatives in India and Dubai, amounting to Rs. 70.86 Crore. The investigation into this complex money laundering scheme will continue.

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