More than 75,000 middle class Delhiites lost at least Rs 400 crore of their hard-earned savings last year to cheats who promised them higher returns on investments.
“Last year saw a sudden jump in the number of large scale multi-level marketing scams, wherein large number of middle class people lost their savings,” said Amulya Patnaik, Joint Commissioner of Police (crime).
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police registered 388 fresh cases of cheating and fraud in 2009, all above Rs 1 crore each.
At present the wing is investigating 1,100 cases of multi-million fraud. In 2008 the number of such cases stood at 781.
Recently the EOW arrested Roopesh Verma, who had duped more than 500 people and pocketed several crores on the pretext of higher returns on an investment ranging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 3.5 lakh.
“He bought more than 160 cars and property worth Rs 25 crore. Gold coins worth Rs 2 crore were found in his office on Barakhamba Road,” said a senior EOW officer.
Most cheats arrested by the EOW had promised double or sometimes triple returns on the invested amount in a span of three to four months.
At least 187 cheats and fraudsters were arrested last year.
“Crash in the stock market and the economic slowdown also led to increase in such cases. The cheats used to divert these funds to the stock market and gamble with their money,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
More than 2,000 people fallen victim to land mafia and were cheated to the tune of over Rs 100 crore. The EOW seized documents of more than 800 acres of land suspected to be purchased from the cheated amount.