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CBI takes over probe against WebWork directors

The agency took over the probe against the firm’s directors following a May 2 order by the Allahabad high court in response to a petition by a Ghaziabad resident

noida Updated: Jul 07, 2017 22:00 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
The company’s directors Anurag Garg and Sandesh Verma were arrested in February after a case was filed at a police station in Noida.
The company’s directors Anurag Garg and Sandesh Verma were arrested in February after a case was filed at a police station in Noida.(File Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on June 27 again registered a case and took over the investigation against the two directors of Webwork Trade Links, an online social trading company. The two were charged with criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery and violation of the Information Technology Act. It is alleged that the business was carried out on lines of a ponzi scheme and the company’s directors duped people.

The CBI registered the case and has taken over the investigation against the company’s two directors Anurag Garg and Sandesh Verma following a May 2 order passed by the Allahabad high court.

The high court order came in response to a plea by Ghaziabad resident Amit Kishore Jain. He had earlier lodged a case in the matter at Sector 20 in Noida, but later moved the high court as he suspected that the online business involved a substantial amount.

“As the Noida police could not handle the case properly, I moved the high court. Both the accused were also arrested. I suspect that the scam may run up to Rs500 crore, so it was appropriate for an agency such as the CBI to investigate,” Jain said.

Read more: Ghaziabad-based complainant in Webwork case asks UP police for security

Jain had lodged an FIR, naming Garg and Verma, with the Noida police on February 12 this year. In his complaint, Jain had alleged that the officials of the company transacted in Indian currency till December 2016 and then suddenly stopped payment and told all its customers, through messages on the website, to transact in digital payment system Bitcoin, which is not valid in India.

During the course of their investigation, police had said that Jain had invested Rs3.5 lakh with Webwork, as per their scheme. He got returns for a few days, but later the web portal stopped paying him. The firm used to ask people to invest Rs11,000 to Rs57,500 in order to become a publisher in the company. The company subsequently sent links of websites to be ‘liked’ by a publisher to make a profit.

Like the case of Ablaze Info Solutions Private Limited, which had allegedly duped over seven lakh people, Webwork allegedly paid people Rs6 per Facebook “like” for a certain period.

Both Garg and Verma were arrested by the Noida police in February. They had told the police that they had even paid Rs1.15 crore to a Bollywood actor for promoting them and spent Rs1 crore on the promotion of a movie starring another actor.

In the May 2 order asking the CBI to take over the case, a bench of justices UC Srivastava and Ramesh Sinha of the Allahabad high court, said, “Thus, we are of the opinion that a large number of people have been duped by the company in question of their investments by playing fraud on them and the matter appears to be of national importance and for doing complete justice between the parties and to instilling confidence in the public mind, we deem it proper to entrust investigation of the case to the CBI (sic).”

Giving the CBI a month to complete the necessary formalities, the high court bench has also directed the agency to submit a report of the investigation by August 25.