Former MLA Kotbhai booked for duping Pearl Group CMD Bhangoo - Hindustan Times
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Former MLA Kotbhai booked for duping Pearl Group CMD Bhangoo

By, Ludhiana
Jun 24, 2023 11:07 PM IST

Former Congress MLA Pritam Singh Kotbhai, five accomplices booked for duping Pearls Group chief managing director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo and his relative, Shindar Singh, of ₹3.5 crore

Former Congress MLA Pritam Singh Kotbhai and five of his accomplices were booked in Ludhiana for allegedly duping Pearl Group chief managing director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo and his relative, Shindar Singh, of 3.5 crore on the pretext of helping them dispose of cases against him, police said on Saturday.

Former Congress MLA Pritam Singh Kotbhai and five of his accomplices were booked in Ludhiana for duping Pearls Group chief managing director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo (in photo) and his relative, Shindar Singh, of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>3.5 crore on the pretext of helping them dispose of cases against him. (HT file photo)
Former Congress MLA Pritam Singh Kotbhai and five of his accomplices were booked in Ludhiana for duping Pearls Group chief managing director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo (in photo) and his relative, Shindar Singh, of 3.5 crore on the pretext of helping them dispose of cases against him. (HT file photo)

Three accused, namely Jivan Singh of Gidderbaha, Dalip Kumar Tripathi of Lucknow and Dharamvir of Dhola village of Gidderbaha, are behind bars, while former MLA Kotbhai, Sanjay Sharma of Faridabad, and Sayid Parvej Rehmai of Lucknow are yet to be arrested.

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A case was registered under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (fraudulently or dishonestly using any document as genuine) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code against the accused at Sarabha Nagar police station in Ludhiana.

Police commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu said the FIR was registered on the statement of Shindar Singh of Sector 38, Chandigarh Road, Ludhiana. He said that his uncle, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, has been lodged in Tihar Jail in a chit-fund scam. He met Kotbhai in Bathinda jail, where the former MLA assured him of links within the government and claimed he could help Bhangoo dispose of all cases against him. The former MLA demanded 5 crore for the task, out of which the complainant had transferred 3.5 crore in various firms as told by Kotbhai as an advance in period from July to September 2020. Kotbhai had claimed he himself is facing FIRs in chit fund scams, but he managed things and was got bail in all cases.

The complainant said later, he found all firms in which he had transferred funds were fake. After he found that they have been duped, he lodged a complaint.

A search is on for the former MLA and his accomplices.

Shindar Singh told police that he had borrowed the money from a man named Girdhari Lal on interest. He added that on July 24, 2020, he got a Demand Draft (DD) prepared for first installment of 50 lakh in name of M/S Lovely Contractor at SBI branch, Aggar Nagar. Later, he got two other DDs in the name of M/S Dola Bricks Company and M/S Kisan Pesticides. Kotbhai’s aides came to Ludhiana and collected three DDs and a few days later, the money was debited. He added that then Kotbhai gave him the account number of M/S Tirpuri Trading Company, which had an account in Uttar Pradesh and said that the pending 2 crore should be transferred to this account via RTGS. But after receiving 3.50 crore, neither did Kotbhai help Bhangoo secure the bail nor did he get relief in any case.

Kotbhai had won the assembly elections in 2017 from Bathinda’s Bhucho Mandi constituency. He faces charges in chit-fund scam cases lodged against him in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand for allegedly duping people on the pretext of getting their money doubled.

Bhangoo, an accused in the 45,000-crore Ponzi scam involving over five crore investors across states, was arrested in 2016 after being booked by CBI. He was brought on production warrant to Punjab and was admitted to a hospital in Mohali for a long time before a CBI court ordered to shift him back to Tihar Jail in Delhi.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Tarsem Singh Deogan is a senior reporter at Ludhiana. He has 16 years of experience in journalism. He has covered all beats and now focuses on crime reporting.

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