A self-styled proprietor of a money circulation farm, who had embezzled around Rs 15 crore lifetime savings of several investors in Balasore district, was arrested by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Odisha police from New Garia, a posh locality in Kolkata, said EOW officials on Monday.
The accused Pratap Kumar Biswal, self-styled Chairman-cum-Managing Director Mass Infra Realty Ltd. and Human Welfare Credit & Thrift Co-operative Society Limited, was produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, 24 Pragana (South), Kolkata yesterday. Later the court in West Bengal allowed EOW’s plea for transit remand. On the strength of transit remand, the arrested accused was produced today at a designated court in Balasore. He was later remanded to judicial custody, officials said.
The money laundering case dates back to 2012. The fraudster, who had floated the bogus finance company, had cheated investors in the name of providing long-term loans at low rates of interest.
The Ponzi farm was in operation in the villages of the Balasore district. The gullible people did not cross-check the credentials of the company. Lured by the hefty return of the investment, deposits were made in the company through its agents.
The poor depositors were in for a rude jolt after they found the offices of the finance company shut down. The company officials remained incommunicado as their mobile phones were switched off. After finally realizing that they have been taken in for a ride, the duped investors filed complaints at the doors of local police. Later EOW had taken up the investigation after local police had transferred the case.
The majority of duped depositors were lured into investment as they were assured of abnormally high returns. They were told of the doubling up of the sum in a two-year span. The investors mostly included small and marginal farmers, cattle farmers, daily labourers, and petty businessmen, added EOW officials.