Punjab vigilance starts scrutiny of alienated assets, ET RealEstate

June 25, 2023

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has commenced the scrutiny of alienated properties belonging to the embattled Pearls Group in the Rs 60,000-crore chit fund scam in which its MD, Nirmal Singh Bhangu, is an accused.

The group’s properties have been identified in compliance with the directives of the Supreme Court and the Justice Lodha Committee. In May, the Punjab government transferred all cases related to financial wrongdoings of the Pearls Group to VB. Later, the revenue department instructed all deputy commissioners to identify alienated properties associated with the group.

A list of 31 alienated properties of PACL/ PGF Ltd in Punjab have been shared with SSPs of the bureau, who will scrutinise the transactions in each case to identify any involvement of public servants in the illegal alienation of these properties. Additionally, a list of 16 other identified properties has been shared to verify whether revenue records contain entries confirming the non-encumbrance of these properties.

The bureau is also verifying 2,239 properties of the group in Punjab, as identified by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to ensure that entries regarding the non-encumbrance of such properties are accurately recorded, as per the Supreme Court’s order dated July 15, 2016.

These properties have been identified by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as belonging to PACL, its directors, promoters, agents, employees, group, and associated companies.

The ownership details of these properties have also been included in the list shared by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The exercise of verification is aimed at ensuring accurate information regarding the ownership of these properties.

Instructions have also been issued mandating that all deeds and documents of sale or transfer executed and registered in the state must include a declaration by the seller.

All 13 individuals named as accused in the first information report (FIR) lodged at the Zira City police station, who have been granted interim bail by the high court, are being made to join the ongoing investigation.

In February, Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann announced that those responsible for deceiving innocent people would be held accountable and vowed that the government was devising strategies to facilitate the return of money to defrauded investors.

  • Published On Jun 25, 2023 at 04:30 PM IST

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