June 25, 2024

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police considers that Amber Dalal, a Mumbai-based investment consultant and chartered accountant, executed his Ponzi scheme so adroitly that even his staff members were oblivious to his deeds. Dalal stands accused of swindling several individuals out of their money under the guise of investing it. His ongoing investigative detention was prolonged till April 8 by a special court on Monday.

Testimony from six employees of Dalal’s Ritz Consultancy Services has been recorded by EOW officials, who indicated Dalal had them handle administrative tasks and refrain from meddling in his transactions. Laptops were provided to five out of the six employees. These seized laptops contained details about investors, including banking information and the amount of money invested.

The EOW brought Dalal in front of a dedicated court on Monday under the authorization of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act, seeking an extension of his ongoing police custody for further questioning about the details extracted from the laptops. Despite the defense lawyer asserting that Dalal’s continued custody was not required for data analysis, the judge decided to carry on his police custody until April 8 after hearing both sides of the case.

To date, EOW has reported to the court that 628 investors have come forward alleging a combined loss of Rs 579 crore.

Special public prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar disclosed that the EOW’s probe shows that the implicated individual has deceived thousands of people. The total fraud amount is estimated to exceed Rs 1,000 crore.”

Festive deal

Dalal supposedly operated his Ponzi scheme since 2010, promising investors monthly returns of 1.5 to 1.8 per cent. He assured clients that he allocated their money to risk-free markets, such as commodities. For the last 14 years until February 2024, he consistently delivered the promised returns.

After failing to make scheduled payouts between March 10 and 12, Dalal, headquartered in Oshiwara, abruptly disappeared on March 14, creating panic among the multitude of investors who flooded to his residence, and later the Oshiwara police station. He was apprehended by EOW officials at a hotel in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, 12 days post his flight from Mumbai.

One defrauded investor alleged, “In addition to scamming a multitude of investors across India, he also reportedly conned investors from the UK, the US, Australia, China, and the UAE.”

Police are diligently working to determine where exactly he siphoned the embezzled money, trying to uncover properties registered under Dalal’s and his family’s names.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

Originally uploaded on: 01-04-2024 at 15:53 IST