Probe Agency Arrests “Kingpin” Of Rs 5,000-Crore Cyber Crime Case

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Probe Agency Arrests 'Kingpin' Of Rs 5,000-Crore Cyber Crime Case

A special PMLA Court sent the accused to ED custody till March 12, said ED (Representational)

New Delhi:

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it recently arrested a Delhi-based man in connection with a money laundering investigation linked to alleged duping of common people to the tune of about 5,000 crore through cyber crimes and online gaming.

Ashish Kakkar, a “cyber fraudster” and resident of Greater Kailash in Delhi, was taken into custody from Holiday Inn hotel in Gurugram on March 2, the central agency said in a statement.

A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court sent him to ED custody till March 12, the ED said. It did not say if he was subsequently remanded to further custody of the ED or sent to judicial custody by the court.

The agency alleged Ashish Kakkar was an “important kingpin of a syndicate involved in generation, layering and siphoning of the proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 4,978 crore generated from various cyber crimes and online gaming ongoing all over India during the period 2020-2024.” The money laundering case stems from police FIRs registered in Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and some others.

The agency said its investigation into cyber crime cases has found that fraudsters use different ways for cheating and generation of proceeds of crime such as investment fraud, part-time job fraud, online shopping fraud and loan fraud.

Among these, it said, the most prevalent modus operandi used for duping the general public of their hard-earned money is to lure them into investing in fraudulent schemes with the promise of handsome returns.

The depositors invest their life savings and when they demand their return, the fraudsters ask them to pay another sum in the guise of certain taxation or processing fees etc., it said.

This continues until the customer himself stops investing their fund and the fund invested or transferred to the bank accounts provided by the fraudsters is gone, the ED said.

A similar criminal act was done in this case, the ED alleged, and proceeds of crime were “layered and accumulated” in the bank accounts of the companies or firms controlled by Ashish Kakkar and his associates and subsequently sent out of India as foreign outward remittances.

Ashish Kakkar and his associates created more than 200 companies (Kakkar is the beneficial owner of these companies) in the name of his employees or based on the KYCs of persons hired for the sole purpose of creation of dummy firms and companies, the agency alleged.

Ashish Kakkar, who himself is neither a director nor any office holder in these companies, “controls” each transaction going on in the bank accounts of these companies through his loyal associates, the ED alleged.

The probe found that these dummy companies have substantial banking transactions but have not filed their financial statements with the Registrar of Companies, the agency said.

Ashish Kakkar, it alleged, imported a number of consignments declaring high value items like rose oil, solar panel machinery from Dubai, Hong Kong, China, etc. in various Special Economic Zones of Mundra, Kandla etc. and subsequently exported the same from the SEZs itself.

Ashish Kakkar and others have sent outward remittances to the tune of Rs 4,978 crore against imports but no remittances have been realised against export of goods from SEZ, it said.

In other words, the ED said, the accused was involved in “circular-trading” by way of import-export for the purpose of hawala or fraudulent transactions.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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