‘Investment firm’ dupes 241 of ₹76 crore; Mumbai Police’s EOW arrests 2 owners
The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police arrested two of the six co-owners of an investment firm for allegedly duping 241 people to the tune of ₹76 crore by accepting money from them by offering 12% annual interest. The accused used the money to invest in other firms for higher returns, but as they failed to pay the interest as well as return the principal amount, the investors lodged complaints against them.
Hasmukh Gogari and Pankaj Chheda, co-partners of Ramnik Hashmukh Associate have been arrested, confirmed Parag Manere, deputy commissioner of police, EOW.
Both the accused have been charged under sections 409 (breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 120B (conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act. Other accused partner in the firm and their relatives who were named in the case are Ramnik Dedhia, Dilesh Vira, Mukesh Chheda, Kushal Chheda and their relatives Hemant Chheda and Jayesh Dedhia. They are yet to be arrested.
“Arrested accused Gogari and Chheda are one of the main accused in the fraud in which 241 investors have been duped of ₹76 crore. They were produced before the court and have been remanded in police custody till October 1,” said Rajendra Sangale, senior inspector, MPID unit.
According to EOW, the arrests have been made based on the complaint of Rajesh Shah, a Goregaon resident, who alleged that Ramnik Hashmukh Associate lured him into investing money by offering 1 to 1.05% interest per month in 2016.
“The firm had given a promissory note to investors as an acknowledgement. The said note was allegedly also signed by concerned executives of the firm where the investor’s money would be further invested for high returns,” said a police officer.
Shah, who works at a senior post in a private bank, was also promised by the accused firm that they would return the money within a month if the investor wished to withdraw the amount.
Shah invested ₹48 lakh and initially received the interest regularly. However, since January 1, 2018, he had not received interest nor the principal amount, following which he filed a complaint, a copy of which is with HT.
Later, Shah learnt that many others had also not got their money from the firm, and all of them all visited the firm’s office in Matunga. The firm told them that they were facing a major crisis due to demonetisation.
However, investors later found out that the firm invested their money in eight other companies under their relative’s names.
Shah and 77 other investors then approached EOW. The case was first registered at Matunga police station, later EOW took over the investigation. During investigation more victim investors turned up before the police and now there are 241 victim investors. The number of investors and fraud amount are likely to go up in coming days as the two accused have been arrested, said Sangale.
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