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ED, Serious Fraud Investigation Office begin probe into Noida’s online trading case

Two accused Anubhav Mittal and Sridhar Prasad were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) in Noida on Friday for an online trading scam worth over Rs. 3,700 crore in which around 6.5 lakh people were cheated.

noida Updated: Feb 04, 2017 17:48 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times, Noida
Noida online trading scam,Noida internet scam,Anubhav Mittal
The two accused Anubhav Mittal and Sridhar Prasad, who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) in Noida on Friday, for an online trading scam worth over Rs. 3,700 crore in which around 6.5 lakh people were cheated.(PTI)

Two central agencies have taken over the investigations into the multi-crore Noida online trading scam from the Uttar Pradesh police’s special task force.

The enforcement directorate (ED) and the serious fraud investigation office (SFIO) have started the probe into the case against three members of a Noida-based ‘digital marketing’ company, Ablaze Info Solutions Limited, police sources said.

Income tax department is already probing the case separately.

The three were accused of duping people across the country of Rs 3,726 crore.

The STF had on Thursday arrested the company’s director, Anubhav Mittal, CEO Shridhar Prasad and technician Mahesh Dayal.

They allegedly duped nearly seven lakh people through one of the biggest internet scams in recent times.

Under a scheme named ‘Social Trade’, people were asked to invest money under different slabs of Rs 5,750, Rs 11,500, Rs 28,750 and Rs 57,500 to get a daily return for one year against the investment. The investors were also promised a return of the principal amount at the end of one year.

Investors were sent 125 links every day that they were supposed to like to stay invested.

The accused are now lodged in Greater Noida’s Luksar jail on a 14-day judicial custody.

The STF that has formed 10 teams to gather more evidences against the three accused has shared information with the two central agencies.

SFIO has the mandate to investigate financial frauds, while ED is the country’s financial crime probe agency.

“The SFIO and the ED have started their investigations into the case as it is a financial irregularity of a large scale. We have provided the information pertaining to the functioning of the Ablaze Info Solutions Limited and other linked agencies to the two central agencies,” said Amit Pathak, senior superintendent of police (SSP), STF.

“More agencies may get involved in the probe as the investigation progresses to take the case to its logical conclusion,” Pathak added.

The STF cracked the case after tracking functioning of this online social trading agency for past three weeks following complaints from investors.

Since January 2, when the fraud came to the light, more than 400 complaints have been lodged against the accused.

Many investors, who gathered outside the Ablaze office in Noida’s sector 63, came out in support of Mittal, the prime accused in the case.

Police said these investors, who are supporting the fraudulent agency, are either too naïve or hired by the accused to escape from the clutches of the law.

“It will take time for some investors to understand that they have been cheated. It is clear from their business module that they were cheating investors as they were circulating their money without doing any business to earn profit. As per existing law their module is a fraudulent one,” said Pathak.

First Published: Feb 04, 2017 17:48 IST