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Old tactics, new victims: How Bhojpuri actor Anara Gupta cheated people

Nearly 45,000 investors from all across the country were allegedly duped of over Rs 200 crore in the name of investment in Emperor Media and Entertainment Private Limited.

lucknow Updated: Dec 15, 2017 11:11 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Bhojpuri actor Anara Gupta,Anara Gupta,Bhojpuri films
The Uttar Pradesh special task force is on the lookout for Anara Gupta and her other associates.(Shutterstock/Representative image)

Faizabad’s Vinod Kaushal invested his life savings and money he borrowed from his parents in the online marketing company run by former Miss Jammu and Bhojpuri actor Anara Gupta hoping to get handsome returns.

Kaushal, however, is ruing the day he followed his friend’s advice and put Rs 500,000 in Emperor Media and Entertainment Private Limited, which promised to double the amount in 11 months by investing in Hindi and Bhojpuri films.

The 35-year-old is now broke.

He is one of the 45,000 gullible investors from all across the country allegedly duped of over Rs 200 crore in the name of investment in the production of Hindi and Bhojpuri films.

“It was after much insistence and assurance from my friend in Lucknow that I invested in the company on September 30 this year,” Kaushal told the Hindustan Times over the phone from Milkipur.

Kaushal and his friends came to know last month that they have been duped of their money.

“Along with my friends, I visited the company’s office at Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, on November 30. After reaching there, we saw some people interrogating the company’s staff. After enquiring, we came to know that STF (special task force) was quizzing the staff,” said Kaushal.

He has received only two weekly instalments so far.

“Now, I stand nowhere,” Kaushal, who runs a small non-government organisation in Milkipur to earn a living, added.

Akhand Pratap, who is also from Milkipur but lives in the state capital of Lucknow, is another victim of the company’s fraud. Pratap invested Rs 3,00,000 on November 29, just a day before the company’s Vibhuti Khand office was raided by the task force.

“My account was debited on November 30. And I visited the company’s office along with my friends the next day just to check. There I saw the STF sleuths quizzing the staff,” Pratap said.

The company even had an e-wallet made to transfer the amount on weekly basis into the account of investors.

“It was through some friends that I came to know about the company. At the onset, everything appeared genuine. So, my friends and I invested in the company while expecting good returns,” said Pratap.

He has now lodged a complaint at the Vibhuti Khand police station against the company.

There are many others in Lucknow who have been duped by Gupta’s company. Ganesh Acharya and RS Pandey, both employees of the Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited, are among those who were enticed by the company’s double-the-amount offer.

The Uttar Pradesh special task force carried out simultaneous raids at the company’s offices at the Cyber Heights, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar in Lucknow, and at Civil Lines in Allahabad late on November 30.

The task force arrested the company’s key agent Om Prakash Yadav, who got money from over 1,000 people in last six months, from Allahabad’s Civil Lines on November 30.

Yadav was arrested after complaints of fraud were registered against the company, its director and agents at Vibhuti Khand police station in Lucknow and Civil Lines police station in Allahabad on Thursday. Gupta and her associates Naresh Sharma, Pradeep Sharma and Shatrughan T Singh had also been accused in the two FIRs.

The next day, police arrested the company’s chief executive officer Singh from Allahabad.

The task force is now on the lookout for Gupta and her other associates.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 11:09 IST