Despite ban on chit-fund companies indulging in money-collection and multi-level marketing schemes in the state, people continue to fall prey to these companies as three such cases have come to light in the district in the past one month only.
In these cases, the chit-fund companies have allegedly cheated people to the tune of crores of rupees by collecting money from them by assuring them to pay handsome interest on the amount invested and by enrolling more and more members in the trading firms.
In the recent case, two persons have been booked by the Cantonment police for allegedly duping people in the name of a chain business.
Complainants Ravinder Kumar and Rajinder Kumar, residents of Kamla Nehru colony here, have alleged that they have been duped of over rs 2 crore by a private company Sujas Capital Private Limited that asked them to invest in the chain trading business. The police have booked two brothers Manjit Singh, a resident of Basant Vihar here, and Karamvir Singh a resident of Delhi, in this connection.
"In January 2014, we had invested `22 lakh in the firm and were paid back the monthly profit for the next three-four months, so we developed a confidence in the firm. Consequently, some of our relatives too invested `76 lakh in the firm. After some time, the firm stopped paying the monthly profit and both brothers went missing," they alleged. After an inquiry by the economic offences wing, the police have registered a case against the two brothers and were searching for them.
In another such case, the police had arrested eight employees of E-biz Vision Private Limited last month for cheating people in the name of chain business. All have been granted bail while the police are searching for the company's owner Kamal Kumar, a resident of Delhi. The case had come to the fore after three women, during a seminar of the company, levelled allegations of fraud.
Another complaint pertaining to a similar fraud was received at the Canal Colony police station in September where a victim, identified as Lucky, a resident of Amarpura Basti here, had alleged that he had deposited `1 lakh in his name and `3 lakh in the name of his relatives in a private company Live India Trading company, which has also cheated them. As per police officials, several complaints have been received against the firm in Barnala district too. In both cases, police officials feel that hundreds of people have been cheated of crores of rupees in Punjab.
The state government last month had ordered all the additional deputy commissioners (ADCs), development, to book "illegal" chit fund companies, saying it has not authorised any such company to operate in the state.
Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa had said that the government has come to know that some money-collection and multi-layer marketing schemes, which were banned under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, were in operation in the state.
ADC (Development) Sonali Giri, when asked about this, said: "After the directions from the state government, a meeting was held with representatives of banks and insurance firms. We have received a list of chit-fund companies and are monitoring their activities. Banks and insurance firms have been asked to help the administration in tracking the business transactions of such companies because, ultimately, all the business is done through banks and insurance firms. We will further strengthen the monitoring system," she said. She added that a vigilance inquiry has been ordered in the case of Live India Trading Company.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Bathinda, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, said that the lust for becoming rich overnight was responsible for such frauds as people, despite knowing that the state government has not allowed these firms to operate in the state, were still investing in these companies. He said the police were taking prompt action after receiving complaints of such frauds.