Ten members of an inter-state gang were detained on Monday by a joint team of the federal agency and the Delhi Police for reportedly threatening top executives of a large Japanese paint-making firm with Rs 15-20 crore for “settling” a bogus Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation, as per an official statement by the agency.
The ED further warned people not to fall prey to such gangsters and to scan a QR code provided on each summons issued in the agency’s name to verify their validity.
According to the report, the Mumbai-based gang sent phoney summonses to Nippon Paints’ president and director in Mumbai, instructing them to appear at the ED’s Delhi office and attend an inquiry under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED stated in its official statement that this was done using “fake” summons from the agency.
It was found that an “inter-state gang was active and targeting high profile persons and businessmen of the society and threatening them in the name of ED by sending them forged summons/notices,” the agency said.
“The members of the gang (in this case) contacted officers of that company (Nippon Paints) and told them that they have good contacts with some officers of the ED and they could settle the matter for which they demanded Rs 15-20 crore,” it said.
“Trap was laid and the members of the gang were asked to come to Delhi for negotiation,” the ED said.
According to the report, the members of the gang consented to come to Delhi after some hesitation, and a joint team of the ED and the Delhi Police arrested the gang’s kingpin, Akhilesh Mishra, and nine others.
Devender Dubey, one of the gang’s members, threatened the company’s representatives to resolve the dispute or he would arrest them the next day, according to the ED, who added that he was captured wearing official stickers on a car and “pretended” to be an ED officer.
The ED said it is warning the public about “unscrupulous elements” who are attempting to fake its summons in order to extort money.
“The ED has developed a foolproof procedure for issuing summons for the recording of statements under the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) as well as the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act),” it stated.
According to the agency, “the summons approved by the competent authorities are generated electronically and can be authenticated by a unique QR code mentioned on the summons.”
Those who get a summons can confirm its authenticity by scanning the QR code on the document. When a person scans the code, they are directed to the ED’s portal, where they can view the summon’s data by entering a passcode.
The directorate also requested for the public’s assistance in bringing such incidents to the attention of the ED without fear or hesitation using the contact information available on the organization’s official website, according to the agency.