Mumbai: ED Raids Amber Dalal's Properties, Freezes ₹37 Crore In Assets

Mumbai: ED Raids Amber Dalal's Properties, Freezes ₹37 Crore In Assets

The ED registered an ECIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, against Dalal, based on an FIR by the Mumbai Police EOW, which led to Dalal's arrest in March.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Monday, June 24, 2024, 12:22 AM IST
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Enforcement Directorate (ED) | File Image

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted search operations at various locations in Mumbai as part of an ongoing investigation into the Amber Dalal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. The searches included Dalal's Oshiwara residence and other properties linked to his associates. The ED froze movable assets, including cash, bank funds, and Demat account holdings, totaling ₹37 crore. The agency also seized various incriminating documents and digital devices.

The search operations were conducted on Friday, June 21. On the same day, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) submitted a 44,000-page chargesheet against Dalal before a special Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) court. The chargesheet includes statements from hundreds of witnesses, including staff members who worked at Dalal’s firm, Ritz Consultancy Services. EOW officials hinted they identified Dalal's properties worth ₹17 crore.

The ED registered an ECIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, against Dalal, based on an FIR by the Mumbai Police EOW, which led to Dalal's arrest in March. Dalal is accused of running a suspected Ponzi scheme, promising high returns to investors and then absconding with their money after initial payouts. It has been gathered that Dalal raised more than ₹600 crore from 1,300 investors. He is currently under judicial custody.

The ED investigation revealed that Amber Dalal convinced investors he was investing their funds in nine commodities (gold, silver, crude oil, natural gas, zinc, lead, nickel, copper, aluminum) and trading in them, ensuring the capital was safe while promising annual returns of 18%-22%. Using the same modus operandi, he also raised money from investors in the UAE and USA.

Dalal allegedly duped investors by claiming to invest their money in trading risk-free commodities. After 2016, he started accepting only investments above ₹10 lakh. Until February this year, he paid investors regular interest. After defaulting on payments between March 10-13, the 59-year-old Oshiwara resident went into hiding on March 14. After evading the police for 12 days, he was finally arrested on March 26 from a hotel in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

The search operations conducted by the anti-money laundering agency also unveiled a network of stockbrokers and investment advisors who brought clients to Dalal in exchange for commissions. It was found that payments received from new investments were being used to pay the monthly returns to old investors. Dalal diverted the funds received in Ritz's account to personal accounts, which were further routed to family members' accounts and used to create assets. He diverted approximately ₹51 crore to his personal accounts, which were used to acquire assets in India and abroad. Eight such immovable properties in India and two properties abroad have been identified.

It has further been revealed that investments were made not only through banking channels but also through cash, which was then infused into the books as accommodation entries in connivance with Mumbai-based jewelers. Returns on such cash-based investments were given to investors in India and abroad (including the UK and UAE) through hawala operators.

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