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Sanskar Group scam worth over ₹100 crore: Economic Offences Wing

The scam involved taking cash from citizens on promised returns between 12% and 24 % on their invested amount.

pune Updated: Jun 20, 2018 23:35 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,sanskar,group
All the accused were charged under Sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 467 and 468 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with Sections 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) (MPID) Act. (HT FILE PHOTO)

Investigations by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) into the multi-crore Sanskar Group fraud case has revealed that the magnitude of the scam is over ₹100 crore with as many as 10,000 investors being cheated by the office-bearers of the group, as part of the criminal conspiracy.

The scam involved taking cash from citizens on promised returns between 12% and 24 % on their invested amount. The first information report (FIR) was lodged with the Dighi police by investor Pramila Darekar in January 2017. Following the complaint, the police booked Vaikunth Prahlad Kumbhar, director of the Sanskar Group; Rani Kumbhar, president of the Group and members Surekha Shivle, Abhishek Ghare and Raju Buchade.

The EOW investigation report submitted to the court states that Vaikunth Kumbhar and his associates floated a number of companies and firms besides also forming a co-operative society to further their cheating agenda. The accused were guided in their criminal work by an economic advisor. The advisor facilitated a meeting between the accused and the registrar’s office to illegally take over a defunct co-operative society to cheat investors.

Police inspector Sunil Kalgutkar, investigating officer in the case, said that grave violations have been unearthed by the EOW which raises question marks over how the government authorities and banks, who were supposed to check documents, looked the other way.

The Pune police was severally reprimanded by the court after investors filed a private complaint alleging that the Dighi police had proved to be inefficient in handling a sensitive economic fraud case. All the accused were charged under Sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 467 and 468 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with Sections 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) (MPID) Act.

The fraud took place between March 15, 2013 and February 2016 at Wadmukhwadi in Alandi. The police have only arrested the company’s vice-president Kamal Shelke (43), in the case so far. The accused appointed a number of agents for the Sanskar Group who used to get substantial commissions.

Case details

In 2013, Vaikunath Kumbhar and his associates approached the deputy district registrar’s office (DDR) office and inquired about old, defunct and closed co-operative societies. From their sources in DDR, they came to know that Khandesh Urban Co-operative Society, formed in 1995, had not shown any financial transaction since 2008 and was defunct. Its director had gone to the DDR office seeking closure of the society after which DDR officials allegedly convinced him to not close the society and instead introduced him to the accused and the economic advisor.

The then joint sub-registrar allegedly, without any society resolution, approved the application by the accused seeking a change of name from Khandesh Urban Co-operative Society to Sanskar Urban Co-operative Society with its new address at Wadmukhwadi, the EOW has stated.

The decision to change the name was done in violation of co-ooperative rules, especially when Kumbhar and his associates were not even members of the earlier society. Kumbhar was shown as the president of the society and financial transactions were carried in the name of Sanskar Urban Co-operative Credit Society till 2018, EOW stated in its investigation report submitted to the court.

The schemes were floated by the front companies of the accused operating under the co-operative society name. Many investors fell for the scam.

Facts

* EOW has attached 42 properties so far.

* The agents received 200 per cent commission from main accused (Vaikunth Prahlad Kumbhar).

* Rs18 crore fraud detected on record till date.

* Accused fled with computer servers, office registers and documents from the office and allegedly destroyed evidence.

* Statements of 450 witnesses recorded so far.

First Published: Jun 19, 2018 23:12 IST