Indian tycoon Harchand Singh Gill arrested for allegedly diverting $100 million scam money to Australian companies

AUD 88 million were received by an Australian law firm and invested in an interest-bearing account with a local trading bank.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested the Former Director of Pearl Group in connection to a multi-crore chit fund case.

Harchand Singh Gill, the absconding accused, was brought back to India upon being deported from Fiji.

A team of CBI officials had gone to Suva the capital city of Fiji to bring Mr Gill under ‘Operation Trishul.’

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A CBI spokesperson said:

“Investigation also revealed that the accused fraudulently diverted the alleged funds collected under the aegis of Jaipur-based private company for purported investment in Australian companies.

It was also alleged that 132.99 million AUD (approx) was found to have been diverted to Australian companies.”

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued a provisional order for the attachment of properties worth AUD100 million belonging to Pearls Group and its founder Nirmal Singh Bhangoo in Australia.

The properties attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) include MiiResorts Group 1 Pty Ltd and Sanctuary Cove properties, said the ED official.

it is alleged that Miiresorts Group also used funds to buy Sheraton Mirage Hotel for AUD 62.5 million Australian dollars and sold it later to Australian Wattle Development Pty Ltd. It is further alleged that the sale proceeds of approx. AUD 88 million were received by a law firm and invested in an interest-bearing account with a local trading bank.

On 19 February 2014, the CBI started the investigation against Mr Bhangoo. The allegations included cheating gullible investors by offering them land in return for their investments by amassing over Rs 60,000 crore by duping these investors.

As per the CBI report, the investors had not only allegedly received any land allotment letter from the company, but almost all the investors to whom the company had allotted the land were unpaid. In addition, most of the land was either non-existent or government land or not sold by the owner.     

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The CBI spokesperson added:

“These schemes were running illegally and both the companies were allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities including forgery in their day-to-day operations.”  

After the preliminary enquiry, made on the directions of the Supreme Court, a case in this matter of fraud was registered on 19 February 2019 against the then Chairman/CMD and promoter/director of Pearls Group and others.

Mr Bhangoo is presently in judicial custody after his arrest in 2016.

Mr Gill, the absconding accused in the case, had an open dated Non-Bailable Warrant of Arrest against him issued by a special court. He will now be produced before the designated court at Rouse Avenue District Courts, Delhi.

‘Operation Trishul’ was launched last year by the CBI to bring back fugitives living abroad. Till now, around 30 fugitives have been successfully brought to India.