In the name of Islamic banking, halal investment, Ambidant Marketing involved in Ponzi scheme: ED
In a major development, the Enforcement Directorate has discovered that Banglore based Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, involved in Islamic banking and halal investment, is allegedly running a Ponzi scheme.
According to ED, "During the investigation, it came to the fore that the scheme run by the company is surely a potential Ponzi scheme. In view of the above, ED has written to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to have another look into the matter and protect the interest of the investors/depositors at large who are being duped in the name of Islamic banking/halal investment."
The ED had initiated an investigation on the basis of information received from the Income Tax Department that Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd is into forex trading.
The agency had then conducted searches at several premises of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd being run by Syed Fareed Ahmed and Syed Afaq Ahmed on January 4, 2018 and January 5, 2018.
Other than Amidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, the above said father-son duo were found to have floated several other firms in India i.e. M/s Ambidant Constructions Ltd., M/s Ambidant Marketing and Trading Company, M/s Profit Theme, M/s Ammar Enterprises, M/s Ambidant Global Solutions, M/s Ambisheltar, M/s Perinet Technologies, M/s Ambigold, M/s Webworld and also having business establishments abroad i.e. M/s Ambidant Marketing Financial Services LLC (at Nawras Tower, Al Quasis, Near Bustan Center, Dubai) started in September 2017.
During the search, cash to the tune of Rs 1.97 crore was seized by ED from the residential premises of Syed Fareed Ahmed for violations under FEMA.
"Several FEMA violations like forex trading to extent of USD 6,62,146/- (equivalent to Rs 4, 20,46,271/- @ 63.50 per USD); the opening of accounts abroad by a resident Indian without the permission of RBI, incorporation of a firm in Dubai without prior approval of Reserve Bank of India or Government of India came to the fore during the ongoing investigations in the matter. A complaint was filed in the matter in the case on 2.2.18 for the above mentioned violations under FEMA," said the ED.
The matter was adjudicated by the Joint Director and penalty to the tune of Rs 1.86 crore was recovered. The cash in INR to the tune of Rs 1.97 crore recovered during the search was confiscated under Section 13(2) of the FEMA. Further, enquiries have also been initiated by ED as regards ownership of assets by these persons/ entities in UAE which is still continuing.
The agency has also detected that Ambidant Marketing Pvt. Ltd. is involved in collecting investments from the customers in the name of Halal Investment and offering huge returns to the extent of up to 12 per cent per month.
"The money is collected through electronic mode/cheque/cash. However, they are neither registered with the RBI nor with the SEBI under their Collective Investment Scheme. From inception (on December 20, 2016) the company has so far received investment up to to Rs 954,05,13,321/- under various plans like Ultimate plan and Haj/Umrah plan. It is intriguing that returns to the tune of 10-12 per cent per month are being offered to the investors in the name of Islamic banking," said the ED.
The agency has also requested the state government authorities to provide copies of all FIRs, including the current investigation by the Karnataka Police, relating to the said investment scheme to examine the possibility of initiation of separate PMLA investigations therein.
BJP leader G Janardhana Reddy has also come under the scanner of Banglore police for his alleged role in bailing out Syed Ahmed Fareed in ED case. The Banglore police claims that preliminary investigations had revealed that Reddy received 57 kg of gold from Fareed to negotiate with ED officials.
Reddy will be summoned soon by ED for questioning.