Kerala

Unmasking the High-Rich Money Chain Scandal: A Deep Dive into Financial Deception

Exploring the Intricate Web of Fraud Involving Rs 1,693 Crore and International Dimensions

Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is now entangled in a complex HighRich Money Chain fraud case. It reveals the alleged regularity of financial misconduct by the accused couple. The staggering sum of Rs 1,693 crore allegedly siphoned off through this intricate scheme accentuates the gravity of the situation.

Key Points

  • Financial Web Unraveled: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) exposed the accused, KD Prathapan, and his wife, Serena, as alleged regular financial criminals. The staggering amount of Rs 1,693 crore allegedly stolen through the scheme raises eyebrows.
  • Multifaceted Accusations: Beyond money chain fraud, the GST intelligence department joins the fray. They are accusing the defendants of tax evasion totaling Rs 127 crore.
  • International Dimensions and Intricate Networks: The investigation focuses on accusations of hawala smuggling and clandestine transfers of stolen funds abroad.

In its anticipatory bail petition, the ED disclosed that the accused couple is implicated in 19 similar cases. Three cases are already reaching trial completion, resulting in convictions. The revelation casts a shadow over the duo’s financial activities, depicting repeated fraudulent endeavors. The court, faced with this labyrinth of accusations, adjourned the case to Friday, granting the defendants additional time for arguments.

Beyond the High Rich Money Chain fraud, the GST Intelligence Department has levied tax evasion charges of Rs 127 crore against the accused. Further investigation suggests that the defendants, fueled by the illusion of immense profits, accepted an investment of Rs 1,157 crore. The alleged ventures include forays into businesses such as OTT platforms and cryptocurrency.

Experts have labeled the financial fiasco the largest fraud witness in Kerala, prompting the need for heightened scrutiny. Wary of the implications, ED argues that granting anticipatory bail may obstruct the investigation. It may also aid in the destruction of evidence and the concealment of stolen funds.

So far, the ED has managed to freeze only Rs 212 crore, leaving a substantial amount unaccounted for. The investigation revealed that the accused had clandestinely transferred crores of stolen rupees abroad through Hawala channels. The knowledge of their absconding status appears to be shared with political figures, prompting the ED to dig deeper into the network of those assisting. Collaborating with central agencies, including the NIA, might be the next step to apprehend the elusive culprits.

The roots of this financial malaise extend beyond Kochi. ED is investigating a Thrissur-based company, ‘Highrich Online Shopee Pvt Ltd,’ previously accused of a Rs 1630 crore fraud. However, ED’s focus shifts to hawala smuggling of Rs 100 crore in connection with this case. The company allegedly initiated an online money chain, luring people with promises of high-interest rates. They are also soliciting deposits, implicating even some politicians.

In a twist of events, the state GST department uncovered an evasion of Rs 126 crore. It led to the arrest of the company owner, K.D. Pratapan, who was later released on bail. ED incorporated these findings into a 12-page counter-affidavit submitted to the court.

Meanwhile, the state government disclosed that the accused in the Highrich fraud case amassed deposits totaling a staggering Rs 3141 crore from unsuspecting investors. The investigation is broadening its scope to ascertain the involvement of foreign investors, introducing an international dimension to this intricate financial puzzle.

Although police initially valued the fraud at Rs 1600 crore, ED’s evaluation points to an even wider reach. Despite these revelations, justice is still in limbo because the administration has yet to decide whether to turn the case to the CBI. The public is hungry for answers as the complex layers of this financial maze continue to unravel, capturing the nation’s attention. The extent of this rabbit hole’s depth and the other surprises hiding in the shadows of the High-Rich Money Chain scam are unknown.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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