Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrests director in multi-crore Ponzi scam
An official spokesperson for the Vigilance Bureau said Sandhu, a resident of Jalandhar, was arrested for a case registered on February 21 at Crime Police Station in Mohali
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday arrested Dharmendra Sandhu, one of the directors, in connection with Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd (PACL Ltd) scam in which five crore investors were defrauded of around Rs 50,000 crore by the company.
An official spokesperson for the Vigilance Bureau said Sandhu, a resident of Jalandhar, was arrested for a case registered on February 21 at Crime Police Station in Mohali.
He said an extraordinary general body meeting of PACL Ltd was held on January 1, 2022, at Ms PACL Limited’s registered office in Jaipur that had been closed for past seven-eight years and appointed three new directors -- Hirdaypal Singh Dhillon, Sandeep Singh Mahal and Sandhu on the basis of forged proceedings.
They had allegedly submitted forged documents to the Registrar of Companies in Jaipur through chartered accountant Jaswinder Dang of Ludhiana and got their names reflected as Directors of PACL Ltd on the website of Ministry of Company Affairs.
Mahal and Dang have already been chargesheeted and are in judicial custody, he said.
The spokesperson said these three unlawfully appointed directors issued notices under the signatures of Mahal to different persons holding or possessing assets of PACL Ltd without taking permission from the committee constituted by Supreme Court under the Chairmanship of Justice (retd.) R.M. Lodha and started extorting money from them.
Recently, the Ministry of Company Affairs has removed the names of Dhillon, Mahal and Sandhu from the list of Directors of PACL Ltd.
The Committee led by Justice (retd) Lodha has been constituted to sell the properties of PACL Ltd. and use the sale proceeds to refund the investors.
The Pearls Group had allegedly cheated thousands of people by illegally operating different investment schemes.
The CBI, which has been investigating the scam since February 19, 2014, has alleged that over Rs 60,000 crore was siphoned off by the two flagship companies of Pearls Group -- PGF Ltd and PACL Ltd -- by duping close to 5.50 crore investors from across the country by floating Ponzi schemes.
The vigilance bureau in June asked all deputy commissioners to verify the entries made in the land records pertaining to 2,239 properties in the state identified by the CBI as properties recorded in the name of Pearls Agro-Tech Ltd (PACL), its directors and associate companies.
The ownership details of these properties have also been included in the list shared by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
The CBI had arrested Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, CMD of Pearls Golden Forest Ltd, and three others on January 8, 2016, in the Ponzi scam case.