The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned renowned actor Prakash Raj for questioning in connection with a money laundering case tied to an alleged Rs 100-crore ponzi and fraud case against Pranav Jewellers, a partnership firm based in Tiruchirapalli. The ED raided the jeweller on November 20, seizing Rs 23.70 lakh in cash and a significant amount of gold jewellery. The actor, who served as the company’s brand ambassador, is now required to appear before an investigation officer in Chennai during the first week of December.
The ED’s investigation stems from an FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing, Trichy, against M/s Pranav Jewellers and others. The allegations suggest that the company collected Rs 100 crore from the public through a gold investment scheme, promising lucrative returns. However, M/s Pranav Jewellers failed to honor its commitment and return the collected funds to the investors.
The raids conducted on November 20 were executed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. These searches were part of a broader inquiry into a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by certain accused individuals operating under the name of M/s Pranav Jewellers, a partnership firm based in Trichy. The ED spokesperson reported the seizure of various incriminating documents, Rs 23.70 lakh in unexplained cash, and 11.60 kg of bullion/gold jewellery during the searches.
Prakash Raj, a 58-year-old national award-winning actor, finds himself entangled in this investigation due to his association with Pranav Jewellers as their brand ambassador. The ED aims to record his statement to unravel the nature of payments made by the company to him and to scrutinize other financial transactions.
Furthermore, the ED revealed that M/s Pranav Jewellers and other connected individuals allegedly duped the public by diverting funds to shell entities and entry providers under the guise of purchasing bullion/gold ornaments. The investigation exposed that supplier parties in the books of M/s Pranav Jewellers were, in fact, entry providers. These individuals admitted to providing adjustment/accommodation entries totaling over Rs 100 crore to M/s Pranav Jewellers. Additionally, they confessed to exchanging cash with the accused persons instead of making bank payments.
In essence, the ED’s inquiry into the alleged Rs 100-crore ponzi scheme involving Pranav Jewellers has expanded to include the scrutiny of financial transactions involving Prakash Raj. As the investigation unfolds, it aims to shed light on the intricate web of financial dealings and purported payments that may have taken place within the company. Prakash Raj’s role as the brand ambassador adds a layer of complexity to the case, making it imperative for the ED to thoroughly examine the financial ties between the actor and the embattled jewellery group.