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Ponzi scheme busted: Masterminds minted money by inviting deposits in scrapped notes

West Bengal-based Pincon Group continued to accept deposits in scrapped currency till November 22, 2016

jaipur Updated: Nov 03, 2017 19:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Ponzi scheme,Demonetised currency,Demonetisation
Pincon Group invited people to make deposits in demonetised notes. (HT File)

Just over a year ago, when in a surprise move Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of old ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency bank notes on November 8, West Bengal-based Pincon Group found in it a perfect excuse to dupe gullible public.

The company announced that they were accepting deposits in demonetized notes for investment purposes. The Kolkata-based firm, with offices in various cities in Rajasthan including Ajmer, Chomu, Kota and Bharatpur, reportedly raked in cash deposits worth more than Rs 1 crore in banned notes, police said Friday.

This came to fore after Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police, in an inter-state operation, arrested four persons, including chairman and managing director (CMD) of the group Manoranjan Roy from Bengaluru for allegedly duping 25,000 people in the state. Along with Roy, SOG also arrested company director Vinay Singh from Bengaluru, accounts head Raghu Shetty from Varanasi and another director (of Pincon Spirits) Hari Singh from Agra, SOG ADG Umesh Mishra said.

“The various centres of the Pincon Group announced that they were accepting deposits in old currency notes for investment purposes. As a result, a large number of people deposited the demonetised currency with them,” said Sanjay Shrotriya, SP, SOG.

Officials said discrepancies in the account books of the company have come to fore during investigation.

“Preliminary investigation suggests that the company took deposits till November 22, 2016 in old currency notes and later made entries in back dates to make it look as if the money was received before demonetisation was announced,” said a senior official investigating the case.

The police said more than Rs 1 crore in demonetised notes were disposed of with the help of bank officials in cities such as Firozabad, Agra, and Dholpur.

“It appears that the fraudsters made substantial effort to turn black money into white and benefitted from the scheme by inviting deposits after demonetisation,” said Shrotriya.

Officials said that Roy, the alleged mastermind of the scheme, had a bank credit limit of Rs 400 crore, which was allegedly bolstered by the scam money.

ADG Mishra said the company has its regional office in Ajmer. The accused have been brought to Jaipur and subjected to medical examination. They will be produced before the court and thoroughly interrogated, he added.

A case was registered against the accused under various sections of the IPC and the IT Act.

First Published: Nov 03, 2017 19:59 IST