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For promotion, Webwork paid Rs1.15cr to film star, say Noida police

Directors of Webwork Trade Trade Links Pvt Ltd claim to have paid a film star Rs1.15 crore for promotion, police said

noida Updated: Feb 18, 2017 22:57 IST
Sohil Sehran
Sohil Sehran
Hindustan Times
Webwork,Anurag Garg,Sandesh Verma
Webwork’s arrested directors have claimed innocence and said that they were running a fair business.(Salman Ali/HT Photo)

The two directors of Webwork Trade Links Pvt Ltd, an online social trading company, arrested by Uttar Pradesh police on Friday claim to have paid Rs1.15 crore to a film star for the website’s promotion, police said on Saturday.

According to the police, the two – Anurag Garg and Sandesh Verma – also told them during questioning that they had spent over Rs1 crore for the promotion of a leading actor’s recent movie. However, police said they have to verify these claims.

Webwork has allegedly been involved in cheating people along the lines of Ablaze Info Solutions Private Limited, whose director Anubhav Mittal too was recently arrested.

On February 13, the Sector 20 police had registered a case against Garg and Verma, based on a complaint lodged by Ghaziabad-based insurance agent AK Jain. Subsequently, their office in Sector 20 was raided.

Garg and Verma left the city and had been evading arrest ever since.

The investigations are in progress and both are in police custody for further probe. Both were arrested on Friday from the office of the senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Surajpur where the duo had come to plead innocence and claim that their company was running a fair online trading business.

According to superintendent of police (Noida city), Dinesh Yadav, the two floated the company in September last year and started duping people.

He added that Verma had created an account with Mittal’s Ablaze Info Solutions Private Limited. Mittal’s policy to make easy money had fascinated Verma, he added.

He later contacted his friend Garg, whom he knew from Meerut. The duo has also worked in real estate in Noida and other places in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav added.

“The company was established on September 5 last year. The duo took a step forward and confirmed Rs6 per Facebook ‘like’, while Mittal’s Ablaze was paying its customers Rs5 per ‘like’,” he said

After the arrest, police recovered two luxury cars — Audi and Mercedes — worth Rs2 crore from their possession.

“They used to send non-validated ads to people, who were termed as publishers. The publishers had to click ‘like’ to earn money. For some time, the company provided money, but later they stopped,” said Yadav.

To create an account for ‘likes’ to earn money, Webwork had floated five plans – Rs5,750 (10 likes per day), Rs11,500 (20 likes per day), Rs28,750 (50 likes per day), Rs57,500 (125 likes per day) and Rs1.15 lakh (300 likes per day), police added.

According to the police, 44,000 people had created 69 lakh accounts with the company to click on ‘likes’ for money. On one identification document, a customer had a provision of creating three accounts; thus people created multiple accounts.

Investigations revealed that nearly Rs260 crore was allegedly duped from 44,000 customers. Of the Rs260 crore, Rs44 crore deposited in various bank accounts has been frozen while demand drafts worth Rs6 crore sent by 2,500 customers have also been seized, according to the police.

Giving details of Webwork’s expenditure, police said the duo had paid service tax worth Rs32.96 crore and TDS worth Rs11.96 crore. They bought office space worth Rs6.75 crore in Noida’s Sector 2 and spent Rs7.36 crore for advertisements and promotions.

“Both are claiming to have paid Rs1.15 crore to an actor for promotion of Webwork and having paid over a crore for the promotion of another film before its release. All these claims have to be verified and checked. We have sought their custody of the duo for further investigations,” said Yadav.

He also said that if a link between Ablaze and Webwork is suspected, it would be probed.

First Published: Feb 18, 2017 22:57 IST