The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday arrested Pearls Group director Nirmal Singh Bhangoo and four others on charges of duping investors through a Ponzi scheme worth Rs 45,000 crore. The arrest came two years after the CBI began investigating the matter. Bhangoo made money by collecting money from over 5.5 crore investors on the pretext of providing good returns on agricultural land investments. The Times of India reported that the CBI recovered documents of almost 14,500 properties the group owned in India.

While the buying value of the properties is around Rs 5,000 crore, their market value is much higher. The investigation showed that investors were given fake land allotment letters, and that funds raised from one scheme were used to pay off investors in another. The Securities and Exchange Board of India in 2014 had ordered the company to return the investors’ money, saying that it was running a fraudulent scheme, Reuters reported.

The others arrested were Sukhdev Singh, managing director of the other accused firm, Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd, Gurmeet Singh, executive director finance, PACL, and Subrata Bhattacharya, a PACL executive director.