14 booked for duping thousands of 3.8 cr in chit fund scam over 2 years

This fraud ran for over two years from 2016 to June 2018, when the first complaint was lodged by Gagandeep Singh, of Seona village, in Patiala; he lost 23 lakh to the scheme.
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Published on Mar 13, 2020 10:20 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Patiala | By

Patiala Police have booked 14 persons, all of Ferozepur, for duping over 10,000 residents across the state, collectively of 3.77 crore in a ponzi scam on Friday. A ponzi scam is a fraud, where fraudsters lure people to invest small amounts in schemes, offering alluring rate of return. Such schemes usually target gullible investors and in this specific scheme, investors were promised over 10% interest rate on Fixed Deposits (FDs).

This fraud ran for over two years from 2016 to June 2018, when the first complaint was lodged by Gagandeep Singh, of Seona village, in Patiala; he lost 23 lakh to the scheme.

The operators of the scam have no intention at all of paying back any of the money they collect from their investors. The ponzi scheme ran under the names of companies that were named Cane Infotech Limited, Cane Agricultural Developer Limited India and Cane Agro Cooperative Society. The accused even opened offices in 13 locations across the state to sound credible to their victims.

The accused are Sukhchain Singh and his wife Sarbjit Kaur; Sukhwinder Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur; Gurwinder Singh; Jugraj Singh; Mahavir Singh; Raj Kumar; Sandeep Puri; Gursewak Singh; Navinder Singh; Kuldeep Singh; Baljit Singh and Kuldeep Singh, of Ferozepur district.

“The accused opened one of their branches near Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib Patiala. Investors were lured to invest in FDs and recurring deposits. When the FDs matured, the accused refused to return the money, making lame excuses to stall investors,” a police officer said.

Complainant Gagandeep, however, claimed that after some time, the accused simply shut their branches and vanished, leaving investors in the lurch. “I then formed an anti-chit Fund Action Committee and started identifying other victims. In the complaint, we have attached the list of victims who have collectively lost 3.77 crore,” he said.

The accused have been booked under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and other sections of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (banning) Act at the Anaj Mandi police station in Patiala.

Anaj Mandi SHO Gurnam Singh said, “A case has been registered and teams have been sent to conduct raids in Ferozepur and other parts of the state.”

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