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ED attaches houses, equity shares worth nearly Rs 100 crore of actor Shilpa Shetty, husband Raj Kundra

ED attaches houses, equity shares worth Rs 98 Cr of actor Shilpa Shetty, husband Raj Kundra.

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raj kundra, shilpa shetty, shetty, kundra, ed, enforcement directorate, money laundering

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it has attached a bungalow and a flat, apart from equity shares, worth about Rs 98 crore to actor Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra in connection with a money-laundering case linked to the alleged crypto asset Ponzi scheme.

The federal agency has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach the properties of the couple.

The case pertains to alleged duping of investors through the use of crypto currency like Bitcoins.

The attached properties include a residential flat in Mumbai’s Juhu, presently in the name of Shetty, a bungalow in Pune and equity shares in the name of Kundra, the federal agency said in a statement.

These assets are worth Rs 97.79 crore, it said.

A lawyer for the couple said no prima facie case has been made out against his clients and that they would cooperate with the authorities.

The money-laundering case stems from FIRs lodged by the Maharashtra Police and Delhi Police against a company named Variable Tech Private Limited, late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj and a number of multi-level marketing agents who are alleged to have collected huge amounts of funds in the form of Bitcoins (worth Rs 6,600 crore in 2017) from the public with the ”false promise” of 10 per cent monthly return in the form of Bitcoins.

It was alleged by the ED that the Bitcoins were supposed to be utilised for mining and investors were supposed to get huge returns in crypto assets, but the promoters ”cheated” them and have been concealing the ”ill-gotten” Bitcoins in obscure online wallets.

Kundra, the agency alleged, received 285 Bitcoins from the ”mastermind” and promoter of Gain Bitcoin Ponzi ”scam”, Amit Bhardwaj, for ”setting up a Bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine”.

These Bitcoins were sourced out of the ”proceeds of crime” collected by Amit Bhardwaj from gullible investors, it said.

”Since the deal did not materialise, Kundra is still in possession and enjoyment of 285 Bitcoins which are presently valued at more than Rs 150 crore,” the ED claimed.

The lawyer for Shetty and Kundra said they shall follow the due process of law and take necessary steps, as prescribed under the PMLA, to protect the liberty and property of his clients.

”We have complete faith in the honourable judiciary. I believe when we make our fair representation before the honourable Enforcement Directorate, even the investigation agencies may grant justice to us.

”We have faith in the fair investigation,” advocate Prashant Patil said in a statement.

The ED arrested Simpy Bhardwaj, Nitin Gaur and Nikhil Mahajan in the case last year. They are currently lodged in jail under judicial custody.

The main accused, Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahender Bhardwaj, are absconding, the ED said, adding that it had attached properties worth Rs 69 crore in the case earlier.

Two chargesheets have been filed in the case till now, the first in June 2019 and the second in February this year.

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