The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned actor Prakash Raj for questioning in an alleged Rs 100 crore Ponzi scam case against a Tamil Nadu-based jewellery group.
Raj, a staunch critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been asked to depose before the central agency in Chennai next week.
The actor has been a brand ambassador of Tiruchirapalli-based Pranav Jewellers which is accused of running a Ponzi scheme and duping investors of Rs 100 crore.
The ED had raided several branches of the group on November 20 and claimed to have seized "unexplained" cash of Rs 23.70 lakh and some gold jewellery.
The federal agency launched the investigation based on an FIR filed by the Tamil Nadu Police Economic Offences Wing. The complainant had alleged that Pranav Jewellers and others collected Rs 100 crore from the public under the guise of a gold investment scheme with the promise of high returns.
ED said its investigation revealed that Pranav Jewellers and other connected persons cheated the public by diverting public funds to shell entities and entry providers under the garb of purchase of bullion and gold ornaments.
“Searches also revealed that the supplier parties in the books of M/s Pranav Jewellers were entry providers, who during the investigation confessed to have provided adjustment/ accommodation entries to M/s Pranav Jewellers for amounts over Rs 100 crores; and also confessed to have given cash to the accused persons in lieu of bank payments,” the agency said in a statement.