MUMBAI: The city economic offences wing (EOW) in an affidavit before the Bombay High Court pleaded that the attached properties in the City Limousines cases, approximately worth Rs 191 crore, be given to the competent authority (CA) to dispose of since it will help the investors to get their money back from a single window. The verdict will have direct impact on EOW’s seized properties valued at over Rs 10,000 crore in different cases.
As per the rule, the attached properties registered in the name of a company are disposed of by the official liquidator while properties registered in the name of individuals are disposed of by CA. The EOW had registered two cases against M/s City Limousines (India) Ltd., and M/s City Realcom India Ltd. City Group’s companies had duped thousands of people across the country by promising unrealistic returns on their investments through various schemes. In one of the schemes, City Limouzine offered 48% returns on investments. EOW had registered cases for cheating and conspiracy while Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
During the probe, the EOW arrested seven persons including the firm’s chairman, Sayyed Masood, and seized properties worth Rs 191 crore. State government has designated the CA to dispose of the said seized properties and to settle the claims of investors. The seized properties in city Limousines cases are located in Mumbai, Kalyan and Pune. Over one lakh investors lost money in these cases. Masood is currently lodged in a Bangalore jail in another cheating case.
During a March 30, 2016 hearing in the Bombay HC, officials from ED, EOW, liquidator and Investors’ Forum were present in the court.
A total of 27 properties in Masood’s cases were attached; four properties are in the name of companies while 23 properties are in the name of individuals. Of 57 frozen accounts, 21 bank accounts are in the name of firms while the remaining are at individuals’ names. The ED has also registered cases against City Limousine firms and has seized bank accounts in Singapore and Switzerland that contained around Rs 250 crore. ED had frozen another bank account in Maharashtra containing Rs 9.32 crore. The EOW affidavit filed before the court stated that the official liquidator can deal with only properties of companies whereas CA can deal with all the properties secured by police and the investors and settle the claims of investors at a single window. A source said that even if the official liquidator disposed of properties simultaneously to that of CA, the investors will have to visit two places to get their money back. “Its better if all the properties are given to one authority so that the process can be initiated by one authority quickly to return investors’ money,” said a source. EOW pleaded that importance should be given to investors’ interest.
Total properties seized by the EOW under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors’ (MPID) act, in over 80 different cases are collectively valued at Rs 10,000 crore.
Properties attached under the MPID in City Limousine cases are worth over Rs 191 crore.
Properties attached under the same law in the Sai Prasad Prooperties Limited (main accused Balasaheb Bhapkar case) is over Rs 3,000 crore.
210 Bank accounts frozen under the MPID in the SpeakAsia fraud case contain over Rs 142 crore.