Forensic analysis of computers, laptops, hard disks and CDs seized from Speak Asia officials and associates would help revealing money and member trail of the MLM network
The Economic Offences Wings (EOW) of Mumbai Police, in continuation with its investigation into the multi crore Speak Asia scam, is scientifically analysing the company’s computers, hard disks, laptops and other material seized, to build a strong case against the multi-level marketing (MLM) company.
According to the sources close to the investigation, all the material such as computers, laptops, CDs, hard disks, seized during the arrest of the various officials and associates of Speak Asia, has been sent to the forensic laboratory for a scientific analysis. Though, the officer refused to name the laboratory, but said that the process is underway and would soon provide more clues.
“Since the data from the seized material would be analysed by experts, it would easier to understand the technicalities and hence it would help in investigation. Information related to Speak Asia members, employees, the money it collected from its panellists may also be revealed,” said the sources.
Computer forensics is examination of digital media in a forensically sound manner with the aim of identifying, preserving, recovering, analyzing and presenting facts and opinions about the information. It has been used in a number of high profile cases and is becoming widely accepted as reliable within court systems in several countries.
Speak Asia duped around 23 lakh investors to the tune of Rs2,000 crore. It promises a weekly income, merely on filling online survey forms. Initially the company paid the money to its panellists but stopped all the payments since May 2010. After complaints were lodged against the company, it came under the scrutiny of EOW, Mumbai.
Subsequently the investigating agency arrested Speak Asia’a chief operating officer (COO), Tarak Bajaypee and along with few other employees. Later, on 30th September, EOW arrested Speak Asia’s financial consultant Sanjeev Dandona and Nayan Khandor, a Mumbai-based Web designer responsible for designing e-surveys. It was revealed that the survey, which the company used to send to its panellist were designed in Mumbai itself and not in Singapore as claimed by Speak Asia.
Earlier Moneylife reported that EOW was investigating the money trail of Speak Asia as almost half of the money collected by the company Asia was transferred to Singapore, while the rest may still be in India. (http://www.moneylife.in/article/speak-asia-where-is-the-money/20601.html)
Currently, Manoj Kumar, the chief executive officer of the company, is absconding.
According to a news report, while it is being investigated in India, Speak Asia has been suspected to have resurfaced in Brazil under the new name “Mister Colibri”, which has a business model similar to Speak Asia and also lists Manoj Kumar as its largest investor.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the bail petitions of A Raja’s former private secretary RK Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, accused in the second generation (2G) spectrum case, and issued a notice to the CBI on their pleas
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the bail petitions of A Raja’s former private secretary RK Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, accused in the second generation (2G) spectrum case, and issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on their pleas, reports PTI.
A bench headed by justice GS Singhvi also extended the interim stay on the Delhi High Court’s order which had put on hold the bail granted to Mr Chandolia by the trial court.
With Monday’s order Mr Chandolia, who was granted bail by the trial court, will remain out of jail till the next date of hearing.
Out of the 14 accused persons, 12 have already been granted bail and only the prime accused, former telecom minister A Raja and Mr Behura are left behind the bars.
The bench had agreed to examine Mr Chandolia’s plea against the high court’s suo motu decision to stay the grant of bail to him by the special court on 1 December 2011 and was released from Tihar Jail the same day.
Mr Chandolia had moved the apex court, challenging the high court order saying its decision of staying the bail was “unwarranted and erroneous”.
Mr Behura had approached the apex court challenging the 16 December 2011 order of the high court denying him bail on the ground that he was the ‘perpetrator’ of the illegal design of Mr Raja and cannot claim benefit of parity with 10 others released on bail.
The high court bench of justice VK Shali had taken suo motu cognisance of news reports on grant of bail to Mr Chandolia and suspended it, saying the stay would be operative if he was not already out of jail.
The high court had said Mr Chandolia’s release would have an ‘impact’ on Mr Behura’s bail plea, on which the verdict was reserved. Later on, Mr Behura was denied bail by the high court.
The apex court had on 7 December 2011 put on hold the high court’s suo moto decision of staying grant of bail to Mr Chandolia.
Denying bail to Mr Behura, who was arrested along with Mr Raja on 2nd February last year, the high court had said, “One thing, which emerges from their (witnesses) statements, is very clear that the petitioner (Mr Behura) has been a perpetrator of illegal design of Mr Raja and, therefore, his role was distinguishable from 10 accused who have been granted bail and were beneficiary of that illegal act.”
It had said Mr Behura cannot claim benefit of parity with others “merely without any application of mind by the court” as he being a public servant was required to act differently.
The nature of evidence against Mr Behura was “very serious” and if offences were proved, it would entail life term under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), it had said.
The high court had said that if Mr Raja can be said as the kingpin of the case then Mr Behura and Mr Chandolia (ex-aide of Mr Raja) acted as a ‘propeller’ in committing the offence.
It had also said that public servants Mr Raja, Mr Behura and Mr Chandolia conspired and acted to grant benefits to telecom companies.
The mistakes in forecasts do seem to follow a pattern. They all find rationalizations for a continuation of what has gone before and attempt to repeat it. Not the best idea
It is often traditional for commentators at the end of the year to make predictions about the coming year. Since I was not born with the gift of prophecy and cannot see the future, I started a new tradition. Rather than make predictions myself, I reviewed the predictions of others throughout the year. Fortunately these are quite plentiful. Over the course of the year I have collected them and compared them with the real results. What is truly interesting to me is that anyone bothers to pay people for these forecasts.
Let us start with commodities, specifically the all time favourite gold. The good people at Capital Economics predicted that gold would reach a new high of $2,500 no later than 2013. Although that is pushing the envelope in terms of time their reasoning was sound. They based their prediction on the assumption that “doubts over the survival of the euro [would] come to a head.” The euro is certainly in doubt and gold did make a run at $2,000 with an annual high of $1,900, but since then it has declined 15% to $1,600 despite continual questions about the euro. So the momentum behind the yellow metal might have finally dissipated.
Another favourite commodity was copper. Barclays Capital predicted that Dr Copper would have an average price of about $9,550 in 2011about the price it started the year. Goldman Sachs was even more optimistic. They predicted a rise in 2011to $11,000 within 12 months a 15% rise. The assumption was logical. Continued recovery in the US and Europe and booming Chinese demand. But there was a flaw. Copper was almost at an all-time high. Nothing stays up forever. Copper did not rise 15% or even stay the same. It declined 20% to $7,500.
Oil is always a popular commodity to predict. Thanks to US and Chinese monetary stimulus it rose from an average of $80 in 2010 to a high of $114 in 2011. However it did not live up to Goldman Sachs’ expectations. They predicted that it would average $110 a barrel. They were only off by 20%. It only averaged $87 a barrel.
Emerging markets were heavily hyped. In 2010 investors ploughed a record $86 billion into emerging market funds. The rational was that “strong economic and micro fundamentals in emerging markets, and fairly steady returns” would equal rising markets. They didn’t. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 20% over the year. The glaring flaw in the argument again was valuations. If the markets poured a record amount into emerging markets in 2010, it is a conspicuous signal that the feat probably would not be repeated. The markets of Chile, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand all reached all-time highs in 2011. There was not where to go but down.
The common denominator to commodities and emerging markets is China. As the world’s second largest economy it has an enormous impact on the world economy. All forecasts are based on assumptions and most assumptions are based on recent history. The Chinese economy has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, so the logical assumption is that it would continue. At least that’s what two famous money managers thought. Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Marketing Group, and Jing Ulrich, chairperson of China equities and commodities at JPMorgan Chase & Co, both forecast that China’s stocks were set for a rebound, because the government could keep inflation under control.
Of course keeping inflation under control is a tall order if you have spent two years emptying your banks to flood your economy with stimulus. In the end, the Chinese government was just about as helpless as other governments and the Shanghai market ended the year at a level not seen since March 2009.
But my all time favourite prediction for the year was an American stock, Netflix. Netflix was supposed to have a paradigm busting business model and no competitors. Of course it wasn’t true. They rent movies and they had lots of competition. Still Goldman Sachs recommended the stock in March when it was at 200. It did go to 300 by 14th July and my forecast for a crash on 31st July was very accurate. It dropped 76% since last summer.
Most disappointed investors blamed Netflix CEO Reed Hasting who certainly made some massive blunders, but the real mistakes were made by the people who recommended the stock and the people who followed their advice. Business models can be hard to analyze and decisions unknown, but all time high prices are something that are screamingly obvious and should be avoided at all costs.
The mistakes in these forecasts do seem to follow a pattern. They all find rationalizations for a continuation of what has gone before and attempt to repeat it. Not the best idea.