220 properties have so far been identified. Two properties in Guwahati worth Rs. 2 crore and Rs. 5 crore, one in Kolkata worth Rs. 30 crore

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has so far identified 220 properties belonging to the Saradha Group, its owner Sudipta Sen and his associates which are suspected to be proceeds of the crime they have been accused of. The accused persons had duped thousands of depositors by diverting their investments for various purposes, including purchase of properties

The agency has so far registered three regular cases in the matter at Guwahati, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar following registration of cases against Mr. Sen and his associates in connection with the Rs. 3,000-crore scam.

While the ED sleuths evaluated the overall financial worth of the properties, two such properties worth Rs. 2 crore and Rs. 5 crore have been located in Guwahati and one in Kolkata worth Rs. 30 crore. Once evaluation is completed, the authorised officials would issue orders for provisional attachment of the properties in question.

“The offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act may be committed at three stages: placement, layering and integration. If a person diverts the investments and even deposits the amount so collected in a bank, it would amount to placement. In this case, the accused had gathered deposits from investors but instead of using it for the proposed purpose, diverted the funds to purchase properties. This would also amount to placement,” said an official.

At the second stage (layering), the money launderer engages in a series of continuous conversions or movement of funds within a financial/banking system through several accounts with an objective to conceal the true origin of proceeds. “At the third stage, to evade detection, the accused employs multiple means to show the proceeds of crime as part of money generated through legal sources of income and goes on to invest in business ventures, real estate and other avenues,” the official added.

While the ED prepares to take further action in the Saradha Group case, once the adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act would approve provisional attachment, the properties so identified would be attached by the agency pending further procedures.

Keywords: chit fund scam