The Enforcement Directorate has attached properties worth Rs 4,109 crore spread over five states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana in connection with the Agri Gold's ponzi scheme fraud case.
The case pertains to the collection of Rs 6,380 crore from over 32 lakh subscribers in various states, who were later denied the promised returns.
The central agency had on Wednesday arrested the main accused Avva Venkata Rama Rao, the company’s chairman and two directors – Avva Venkata Narayana Rao and Avva Hema Sundara Vara Prasad on the money laundering charges. A special court in Hyderabad sent them to 10-day judicial custody.
ED is investigating the case under the Prevention of Money laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), based on multiple FIRs lodged in AP, Telangana and Karnataka.
“The scam was perpetrated by the accused Avva through Agri Gold group of companies. Avva hatched a well-planned conspiracy and along with his seven brothers and other associates had set up more than 150 companies. They collected deposits from the general public with a promise of providing developed plots/farmlands or option of withdrawal at a high rate of return on maturity/pre-term,” ED said in a press release on Thursday.
Thousands of commission agents were engaged to lure the public with various schemes for a hefty commission. In the end, naive investors neither received the plots nor could recover their deposits. The plight of the swindled, mostly middle-class people, was especially evident in Andhra Pradesh.
“Investigations further revealed that Avva and his family went on a siphoning spree and illegally diverted the public deposits, invested in myriad verticals and in private companies which were directly owned by their family,” ED said.
The Agri Gold accused names had also appeared in the Paradise Papers leaks on the offshore investments worldwide.
“They had incorporated companies with the help of the infamous Mossack Fonsenca in the Cayman Islands. Investigation conducted so far has led ED in identification of assets totaling to Rs 4109 crore, now provisionally attached,” the agency said.
The attached assets include 2,809 landed properties, Haailand Amusement Park of M/s Arka Leisure and Entertainments Private Limited in Guntur spread over 48 acres, shares of various companies, plants and machinery.
The attached properties are located in the following districts of five states -
Andhra Pradesh: Anantapur, Kurnool, Krishna, Chittoor, Guntur, Kadapa, Vizianagaram, East & West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Nellore, Prakasam, Srikakulam, Kadapa
Telangana: Mahaboobnagar, Narayanpet, Khammam, Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Vikarabad, Medchal-Malkajgiri, Nalgonda
Karnataka: Bengaluru, Kolar, Yadgir, Mandya
Tamil Nadu: Krishnagiri