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An advocate and his associate have been sentenced by a Delhi court to seven years in jail and a fine of Rs 52 lakh for duping investors through a sham investment scheme promising high returns 15 years ago.

Additional Sessions Judge Surinder Rathi sentenced 68-year-old practicing advocate K S Kardam and his associate Madan Lal, holding them guilty of duping investors of crores of rupees by running a fraudulent scheme “Hoffland.”

The court also prepared a list of 13 investors who had invested their money in the scheme. It directed that of the Rs 26 lakh fine to be paid by each convict, each investor be paid a compensation equal to thrice the money invested by him.

While convicting the duo, the court noted that the scam kingpin and Hoffland group firms’ proprietor B B Sharma had absconded after getting bail in another case and directed the Delhi police commissioner to take steps for getting a red corner notice issued against him through Interpol.

The prosecution case was that Sharma, chairman of Hoffland Group of companies and an ex-employee of the Syndicate Bank, had duped investors in the name of higher rate of interest by issuing misleading advertisements in newspapers.

Sharma’s Hoffland Investments offered rate of annual interest between 18 to 27 percent to the investors with post-dated cheques to return the payment. The cheques got dishonoured en mass.

Sharma was arrested after the arrest of his most trusted associate convict Kardam, proprietor of Hoffland Investments and assistant vice-president Lal. All three are ex-employees of Syndicate Bank.

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