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Kerala: Court approves confiscation of defendant's assets in Highrich Money Chain scam worth Rs 200 crore

The confiscation of assets belonging to defendants implicated in the Highrich money chain scam has been confirmed by the Third Additional Sessions Court. The judgement maintains the Collector's earlier order for a provisional seizure.

Kerala: Court approves confiscation of defendant's assets in Highrich Money Chain scam worth Rs 200 crore anr
First Published Apr 29, 2024, 9:34 AM IST

Thrissur: In a significant turn of events, the Third Additional Sessions Court has upheld the confiscation of assets owned by the defendants involved in the Highrich money chain scam. This decision validates the earlier provisional seizure ordered by the Collector, encompassing a diverse range of assets, such as 67 bank accounts, 11 vehicles, and multiple real estate properties.

With this, the assets of Highrich and Highrich capitalists will be in the possession of the collector. The government thus will acquire properties worth around Rs 200 crores. The owners of Highrich contested the motion for confiscation. However, the court rejected their plea to dismiss the petition.

It's believed that Highrich is among the biggest money chain scams in Kerala's history. The police submitted a report to the court that disclosed a total of Rs 1,630 crore connected to the illegal acts related to the Highrich operation.

Since the outset, the Highrich fraudsters attempted to deter additional complainants from stepping forward in this fraud case. However, with the court affirming it as a money chain fraud, more complainants are expected to approach the CBI. The timely intervention of the District Collector ensured the attachment of the accused's property under the BUDS (Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes) Act. The public prosecutor also effectively pursued the case. Notably, this marks the first instance in Kerala where confiscation of property under the Buds Act has been validated.

Following the recommendation of the Director General of Police (DGP), the government issued an order to transfer the Highrich fraud case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Currently, both the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Crime Branch are investigating the case. The financial investigation wing of the Crime Branch is leading the probe. Initial findings suggest a total fraud of Rs 750 crores, with the number of cases increasing daily. Given the gravity of the situation, the recommendation was made to involve the central agency. Consequently, the Home Department issued an order directing the DGP to promptly hand over the pro forma report to the Central Government.

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