ED freezes ₹47 crore, including 3 Bengaluru cos, in Chinese loan app case
The Enforcement Directorate, in its probe against app-based token, HPZ, raided several locations across the country, landing ₹46.67 crores of cheat money.
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday froze nearly ₹47 crore belonging to four firms - including Paytm Services Pvt Ltd and two other Bengaluru-based companies - after raids this week over alleged irregularities regarding a 'China-controlled' investment token - HPZ.
₹1.11 crore was seized from Paytm Services Pvt Ltd, ₹1.28 crore from Cashfree Payments India Pvt Ltd, and ₹8.21 crore from Razorpay Software Pvt Ltd, as well as ₹33.36 crore from Pune-based Easebuzz Pvt Ltd. The funds were frozen under the anti-money laundering law.
"... various incriminating documents (were also) recovered and seized," the agency said, noting that entities involved in money-laundering had maintained huge balances in virtual accounts with payment aggregators and detected ₹46.67 crores across scanned accounts.
Cashfree Payments said it would 'continue to extend diligent co-operation to ED operations'.
Paytm said the frozen funds 'with regards to the loan app case, do not belong to the company'. "These entities are independent merchants, who are being investigated," it said.
The other firms have yet to respond at the time of publishing this report.
The Enforcement Directorate had said HPZ 'promised users large gains against investment by investing in mining machines for Bitcoin and other crypto currencies'. The MO was to first lure victims to invest on pretext of doubling investments through HPZ, the agency said.
HPZ was operated by Lillion Technocab Private Ltd and Shigoo Technology Private Limited, and the latter was also found to be 'linked to various Chinese-controlled companies'.
All of these searches were carried out on Wednesday, and included action at multiple premises in Delhi, Mumbai, Ghaziabad and Lucknow, and even Gaya in Bihar.
Premises of banks and payment gateways in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bengaluru were also searched.
The case - under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act - stems from an October FIR against accused and linked persons by Nagaland Police's cyber crime unit.