• Call centre ‘scam’: ED officials file prosecution complaint against arrested firm director, 8 others
    Indian Express | 20 November 2023
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said in a statement that the Kolkata Sessions Court took cognisance of a prosecution complaint by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) against the director of Met Technologies Pvt Ltd, Kunal Gupta, and eight others.

    The ED statement said, “Investigation revealed that representatives of the said company targeted gullible residents in the US, UK and Australia. Posing as representatives of legitimate businesses, they defrauded individuals through bogus tech support offers, deceptive website sales, and sham loan offers via counterfeit mobile apps, coercing victims into substantial payments and generated proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 145 crore. Kunal Gupta was allegedly the mastermind in running fake call centres on the office premises of his company. Gupta is also allegedly involved in illegal betting and online gambling activities. He has established companies in the UK, the US, and Australia.”

    According to the release, the prosecution complaint sought punishment of the accused persons for the offence of money laundering and also for confiscation of the proceeds of crime “worth Rs 67.33 crore.”

    “The ED has filed a prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 on 08/11/2023 against Kunal Gupta, director of Met Technologies Pvt Ltd and eight others in the Court of the Hon’ble Sessions Court (PMLA), Kolkata, seeking punishment of the said accused persons for the offence of money laundering and also for confiscation of the proceeds of crime worth Rs 67.33 crore. The Hon’ble Sessions Court, Kolkata took cognizance of the prosecution complaint on 16/11/2023,” stated the release.

    The central investigating agency said, “The ED initiated investigation on the basis of an FIR registered by the Bidhannagar police alleging serious offences, including cheating, forgery, and criminal conspiracy under various sections of the IPC, 1860 against M/s Met Technologies and its associates. The ensuing investigation unearthed an illegal call centre being run by the company in Salt Lake, Kolkata, engaged in fraudulent activities both domestically and internationally, which the police subsequently sealed.”

    The statement added, “…two of his (Kunal Gupta) UK-based companies have been levied penalties by Ofcom, the telecom regulator of the UK, for slamming, which is the illegal practice of switching a consumer’s telephone service provider, without consent. Investigations have revealed that the tainted money was allegedly laundered through a complex web of companies, beneficially owned/controlled by him and his family members, his company employees, and the same was subsequently funnelled into the hospitality sector, including hotels, clubs, and cafes, to project and disguise the proceeds of crime as legitimate earnings.”

    Gupta, who investigators claims is the “kingpin” behind multiple international fake call centres in Kolkata and Bidhannagar, is wanted in different cases by law enforcement agencies including ED, Kolkata Police and CID.

    Gupta was arrested by the ED in September. The ED carried out search operations at the residential and commercial premises of Gupta, his key employees, and his companies which resulted in the recovery and seizure of Indian and foreign currency to the tune of Rs 10.56 lakh along with property documents worth approx Rs 41.50 crore and other incriminating documents.

    A provisional attachment order to the tune of Rs 67.23 crore was also issued, thereby attaching movable and immovable assets owned by Gupta, his family members, related companies, and some of his business associates.

  • Link to this news (Indian Express)