The special investigating team (SIT) constituted to probe Ablaze Info Solutions Private Limited, an alleged Ponzi firm run by Anubhav Mittal, is also investigating the dealings of more than a dozen companies/firms engaged in a ‘cashback’ business. According to SIT officials, such firms were paid for providing services that never existed.
Officials added that the connection of such firms, based in Delhi-NCR, is being probed as part of the investigation related to Ablaze. They suspect Ablaze paid a huge amount to such firms through banking channels.
“We found in our investigation that payments were made by Ablaze on account of availing services from such firms, but no services were found to be provided in return. The amount was later returned in cash. It is suspected that such firms kept their cuts and paid back in cash. We are probing such firms and the amount circulated in such a manner,” said Rajiv Narayan Mishra, additional superintendent of police, Uttar Pradesh special task force (UP-STF).
Another part of the investigation aims to find out the activities of 15 members of the ‘core group’ who were behind Ablaze’s business. A wider search is also underway for ‘suspicious’ diamond distributors. Officials related to the investigation had said a ‘core group’ of around 200 persons, including gold and diamond distributors, who could be behind the ‘suspicious transactions’ allegedly carried out by Ablaze officials.
They added that the information provided by Ablaze managing director Mittal during his police remand is being probed. According to the SIT, the clinching evidence in the alleged Ponzi scheme is that Ablaze has no source of revenue other than money collected from subscribers.
“This company has no other source of revenue other than subscription by members. Their membership fee was circulated for paying commission and meeting establishment expenses. Money was circulated while new people were added with the promise of double or triple returns to investors. All this was done without any other revenue source. This proves a fraudulent objective,” Mishra added.
According to the investigating officials, the “wrong objective” receipts dealt with by Mittal and his company amounted to nearly Rs 3,726 crore and nearly 6.5 lakh customers were duped.
On February 2, the UP-STF had arrested Mittal, along with company’s CEO Shreedhar Prasad and technical head Mahesh Kumar. Later, they also arrested Atul Mishra, a relationship manager with Yes Bank, for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy with Mittal and providing him prior information about the bank’s suspicious transaction reports, raids and investigations.
Apart from the SIT, which is being helped by UP-STF, the enforcement directorate has also registered a case of money laundering on the basis of the FIR registered by the UP-STF in connection with the alleged multilevel marketing Ponzi scheme in Noida.