Hyderabad: The Enforcement Directorate(ED) on Wednesday has arrested three accused, including two females, in connection with a chit fund case in Hyderabad. 

According to the ED, the team has arrested one Nowhera Shaikh, a Molly Thomas and  Biju Thomas under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2002(PMLA). 

They were allegedly involved in a fraudulent money circulation scheme of Heera Group, Hyderabad. 

The accused were produced before the Metropolitan Session Judge, Hyderabad and the court has granted them seven days’ custody.

"ED has initiated investigations under PMLA on the basis of FIRs registered by Telangana Police against Nowhera Shaikh, Molly Thomas and Biju Thomas and Heera Group of companies. Heera Group is accused of fraudulently collecting investments from lacs of innocent victims on the promise of providing very high returns of approximately 36% by indulging in gold trading etc. The scheme was unsustainable and the group has defaulted in the repayment of the principal amount and promised returns to its investors. The accused fraudulently running a money circulation scheme. Multiple FIRs have been registered by the aggrieved depositors across the country against Nowhera Shaikh & others," ED said.

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The investigators claim that the accused persons and their group of companies have collected more than Rs 3,000 crore from 1,72,114 investors across India on the pretext of investment. 

"Deposits were also collected from victims in Hyderabad, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and other states in India and also from NRIs in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. Investigations revealed that, the group companies do not have any substantial actual business activity by which they can earn the promised profits/returns. Nowhera Shaikh and others have diverted the collected amounts to their personal accounts through their company bank accounts/benamis for wrongful gain and amassed huge movable and immovable properties by utilizing the diverted funds," ED said.

The ED also claimed that Nowhera Shaikh opened 24 entities under Heera Group. Moreover, 182 different bank accounts were opened in various banks in different parts of the countries in the name of these 24 entities.

 Further, 10 bank accounts were also opened in foreign countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia etc.

Biju Thomas MD of Suvan Technologies Solutions India Pvt Ltd, Kerala, has developed the software for the Heera Group of Companies and all the account details are maintained by his firm. Molly Thomas worked as the PA to Nowhera Shaikh and assisted her in carrying out the above criminal activities, the sleuths claimed.