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GANGTOK: In April, Sikkim was buzzing with the Multi Commodity Exchange scam, considered the biggest scam in Sikkim’s history amounting to billions of dollars. Finally, it seems the Enforcement Directorate has acted on the case with eight (8) locations in Sikkim, Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai searched in connection to the fraudulent case.

The Enforcement Directorate tweeted on Wednesday, “ED has conducted searches at 8 locations in Sikkim, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai in Sikkim MCX fraud case. A total amount of Rs. 4.65 crore was frozen from the bank accounts of brokers that corresponded to the undue gain availed by such brokers by illegally availing Stamp Duty Exemption.”

In the July 13 press release from the Enforcement Directorate, the ED quoted, “the locations where the search was conducted include the various premises of Limited Liability Partners (LLP) in Sikkim which were controlled by brokers trade in MCX and NSE in Kolkata and Delhi. Premises of various stockbrokers in Delhi and Mumbai, where many fake Sikkim-based traders were registered were also searched. Incriminating evidence relating to such traders were also recovered.”

The issue of MCX fraud found ground in April this year when a few national newspapers reported the unprecedented MCX transactions being done either in Sikkim or by traders from Sikkim. The reports were suggestive of over $6 billion in transactions to have taken place in February 2022. The reports stated that the number of traders from the state, based on unique client code, has increased to 2217 compared to 674 in February 2020.

The ED appears to have initiated a money laundering investigation upon the FIR dating to May 17, 2022, filed by Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Raju Giri, a Gangtok resident. It was registered by Sikkim Vigilance Police Station against unknown persons or companies. The FIR alleged that disproportionate data in MCX trading from Sikkim is highly doubtful and some LLP companies and private individuals or traders from other States in India are doing high-frequency MCX trading either using the identity of Sikkim residents or using co-location of Sikkim illegitimately for taking undue advantage of the Income Tax and Stamp Duty exemption given to people of Sikkim.

Even Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay has addressed the issue multiple times along with other political parties. The Chief Minister had earlier stated, “The State government has immediately directed Vigilance Police to investigate the suspicious increase in the number and market share of Sikkim-based traders in MCX.

The ED claimed further investigation is in progress.

Also read: In Pics: Sikkim celebrates 208th Bhanu Jayanti with tableau across Gangtok

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