Citizens' Issues
Forbes magazine's strange activism on behalf of the shady MLM QNet

A blog published by the international magazine Forbes on the founder of QNet, a notorious multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme, has been touted by agents of the company as a blue-chip endorsement. Now the same writer goes a step further to defend them by attacking Moneylife’s stance on the dodgy scheme. Not surprisingly, QNet, which refused to answer direct questions posed by Moneylife, appears to have provided detailed answers to this writer

Donald Frazier, a writer at Forbes, has done it again. This time, he endorses QNet, a typical MLM scheme, which has been luring hundreds of thousands Indians the same way Speak Asia did, while attacking Moneylife. The endorsement contains answers to specific queries raised by us. What is astonishing is that Frazier claims not to have met any detractors of QNet. Here is the latest on Forbes’ endorsement of a dubious operation that our Ministry of Corporate Affairs and its Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) are claiming to investigate.

The blog by Frazier on the website of Forbes Asia has repeatedly found mention in the comments section of Moneylife’s many articles on QNet as a credible endorsement of the scheme and its Malaysian-born promoter, Vijay Eswaran. The comments, ostensibly from independent representatives (IRs) of QNet, seek to allay the fears of potential victims of the scheme. When Moneylife tweeted the India editor of Forbes magazine to find out if it really was endorsing QNet, our articles were apparently brought to Frazier’s attention.

Since then, Frazier has tried to draw Moneylife into a dialogue and attempted to get us to supply him with a list of QNet detractors—something no self-respecting journalist ought to do. Now he has published a bigger endorsement of QNet, which, strangely enough, has Moneylife and its managing editor as its centrepiece. Does this mean that Moneylife’s investigation into the Singapore-registered QNet’s obviously shady business is hitting home? Read on for details.

Frazier’s latest blog starts with the strange premise that he invited Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation, to use his blog as a “neutral site” for providing information on QNet. This is strange because Moneylife is an e-paper, in competition with Forbes, and we have posted several articles about QNet, which detail our standpoint. Frazier, however, seems confused about the difference between media entities and a shady corporate entity that would need his blog—either as a friendly or hostile site—to post views.

Mr Frazier also claimed that “She (Ms Dalal) also opted to not identify self-professed ‘victims’ of QNet who, she says, came out in one of her for-pay seminars in Mumbai a few weeks ago." This is interesting because Moneylife Foundation’s seminar was attended by two senior officers from the government’s SFIO who not only heard the victims but also participated in the discussion. There was an audience of over 50 persons that day.

He then goes on to pick up some direct and specific questions that Moneylife had posed to Zaheer Merchant, QNet’s director for corporate communications. Mr Merchant has yet to respond to us directly, but apparently made time to give Frazier a point-by-point reply.   Ironically, the answers only prove our point that QNet’s reaction to our writings—way back in 2009—were to immediately offer an all-expenses paid trip to Hong Kong to Ms Dalal to “check out their operations”. It is not clear why an MLM selling holiday packages, watches and trinkets globally needs to fly journalists to Hong Kong. Mr Merchant says that many journalists accepted QNet’s invitation—it would be interesting to get a list of names, because analysing their writings on QNet, before and after visiting Hong Kong, would establish the impact of the trip.

The emails between Mr Frazier and Ms Dalal that are self explanatory...

On 3 December 2012, Mr Frazier wrote...

Dear Ms. Dalal -
Greetings, and I hope you are well.
You've apparently been much more successful than I have in finding detractors of QNet.  Last week I sent you a message with a greater idea: what if you were to summarize all of the allegations of unsavory and illegal behavior by the company?  I would run it in my column in Forbes, and demand that QNet answers them publicly.
I should post a column on reactions to the story anyway.  I can get answers to all of your questions, helping your readers and mine.
Here's the link: (Originally in Forbes Asia's print edition for November.)
I hope to do this is a few days; please reply so that I know you received this,

On the same day, Ms Dalal replied, saying...

Dear Mr Frazier

Greetings and many thanks for your email. I guess you have written to me because everybody lured by QNet is quoting the "positive" coverage that QNet received from Forbes.
I am not sure you know, but we run a magazine (smaller than Forbes, certainly, but we are in the publication business). Our website has a big reach and our e-magazine goes out to over 75,000 people every day.  

I am not sure why WE should summarise anything for YOU to publish in your BLOG. Completely flummoxed by the suggestion. Wouldn't it be far better if you were to visit our website, search for QNet and find everything we have to say on the matter for yourself?

If you are truly saying that you have not found anyone with anything negative to say about QNet, I can only say that you have not looked hard enough. We had several people at our seminar in Mumbai who would have happily provided details. Maybe a visit to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office in Mumbai or the police in Hyderabad will also help you get information.

I trust this is useful.

On 4 December 2012 Mr Frazier replied...

Hi Ms Dalal, and many thanks for your prompt, substantive note.
Yes, I was quite surprised to find my story commonly described as an ‘endorsement,’ as if coverage of any company confers a quasi-official ‘seal of approval’ on its activities.  Mainly, given our focus on individual entrepreneurs at Forbes, it’s a story about the ascent of QNet’s founder who, you gotta admit, has indeed become rich and famous this way.
I’ve just discovered Moneylife.  Your creation?  I think its mixture of news coverage, commentary, blogging, tweeting and events could very well point the way for the future of journalism—at least in India, where the Jain brothers et al seem to be far in advance of the West in breaking down old conventions.  I love its energetic tone of righteous indignation!
To answer your question, I thought you might prefer to assemble these various charges because that would give you a more cohesive, harder-hitting document. (Must confess: I also thought you might have fun with the confronting Qnet directly in my space.)
But no worries:  I’ll take your advice, by gathering the disparaging references from Moneylife, your blog, your twitter feed etc, and running them in one document, and asking QNet to reply.  I’ll be sure to attribute them to you. But some of these are more like allusions.  For example, consider a twitter reply of 19 November, by a Ritesh [email protected]: @suchetadalal “Mam I am a direct victim of QuestNet/Goldquest, really want to kill those bastards, All these MLM are pure fraud.” Great copy, but it doesn’t give us as lot of information to go on.
(BTW I’m not a blogger—all of my stories for Forbes and Forbes Asia are for the paid print operation and subject to the same fact-checking, editing and so on. Forbes corporate uses the blogging platform to post everything they publish—no wonder you got the wrong impression.)
I’d be delighted to feature the people from your seminar in Mumbai.  Bring them on!
I’ll do this over the next few days; please feel free to forward anything you’d like me to add to the mix.
Cheers – and thanks again for inspiring what will be a spirited dialogue.

On the same day, Ms Dalal replied, saying...

Greetings Mr Frazier...
Moneylife—our website also collates authentic information and cross checks it with the police, serious frauds office and government ministries.

Just for your information, we will not collate uninformed comments on Twitter or Facebook and use them in our reports or stories. Also, just by way of background, Debashis Basu (editor & founder of Moneylife) and I have over 27 years of journalistic experience, mainly in India's mainline press. So it’s not a little fun blog—and the “righteous indignation” you speak of is borne out of close observation of the Indian business scenario.

So no, we won’t “bring it on" .. We think each of us ought to do our own research and our own writing. Many thanks for your offer.

There are other things that the Forbes columnist apparently failed to notice when he was trawling the internet for Twitter feeds and comments. QNet and its IRs or sales agents specialise in creating duplicate domain names to manipulate search engines like Google. Moneylife had a firsthand experience of this. Maybe Mr Frazier should check this link:

Another result that appears on Google bears the title "Forbes Asia - Official QNet Blog – Qnet” (yes, the QNet people have used Forbes Asia as their page title!) The entry on this blog page says, "Vijay Eswaran in Forbes Philanthropy Heroes List!" Do we, or Mr Frazier, need more proof that shows how his article in Forbes is being misused by QNet to endorse its ‘business’?

QNet has done this to Moneylife as well. Check out and, which is clearly the handiwork of the QNet team and designed to mislead. Finally, here is a first-person account from a well-known television journalist, Ashu Dutt, on how he and his family became a victim of QNet. He sent this to Mr Frazier with a copy to us…


I got your reference from Sucheta Dalal. As a backgrounder I was the Chief Consulting Editor of Bloomberg TV and ET Now, Editor and Senior Anchor at CNBC-TV18 and Senior Anchor at NDTV/Star News. I am also a bestselling author of over a dozen books. So I hope this provides you with credibility in terms of a "detractor".

QI/QNet/QuestNet/GoldQuest/Faith Network is not just a fraud, but they lure women to break away from their families and then go after the family money. My own wife fell into this trap. I have 3 little children and she has put their future in jeopardy. They first lured her into their web using hypnotists (their Mumbai kingpin, Manjunath Hegde, is a hypnotist and they proudly declare him to be a "master of the mind". The network in Mumbai is run through another cult-like organization called "Faith Network".

Once this was done, they got her to put money from our house and relatives. Then they told her to kidnap our children and run away to Thailand (my kids are US and Thai citizens). Fortunately, Indian immigration stopped her from going to Thailand.

This is my story. I can tell you that there are hundreds of Indian families that have been ruined by these people. In Mumbai, they use hypnotism and cult-like practices (wearing white clothes with blue pendants).

Once they trap the women, they go after their wealth. My wife has now gone on to take over our assets by changing directors and doing all kinds of illegal corporate stuff guided by QI kingpins.

This is my personal experience and I come from your fraternity. I must say I was very dismayed to see a magazine of your standing put out an article about people who use hypnosis and destroy families.

QNet openly uses your article to mislead people. While it may just be an article for you, hundreds of homes have been destroyed. People are being sold Ponzi schemes in a country where the level of financial literacy and understanding of legal rights is very poor.

Hope you will do something to correct this distorted picture

Ashu Dutt




jitu moni

4 months ago
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the city police arrested a woman in her early 30s on Thursday for her active involvement in the multi-crore QNet scam. The total number of arrested accused has now reached 47, which includes Billiards champion and Padma Bhushan recipient Michael Ferreira.
In the Rs 1,000-crore scam of Hong Kong-based company QNet, nearly 5 lakh investors across the country were duped. QNet has been accused of using the banned binary pyramid business model for its multi-level marketing schemes to lure investors.

QNet posed as a marketing firm selling bio-discs, watches, herbal products, holiday packages, etc. It also claimed that by using the bio-disc, one could cure cancer and brain diseases, the police said.
Too much baggage
Accused Aditi Mitra was intercepted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, and subsequently, arrested based on the lookout circular that had been issued against her.

Assistant commissioner of police Arun Jadhav confirmed her arrest said she was sent to police custody till March 23.
Mitra was allegedly trying to flee to Dubai for good. She was carrying eight big bags and two handbags. Of the eight, two contained her belongings; she refused to say what was in the other six, sources said.

Mitra, an independent representative associated with QNet, had been getting hefty commissions in return. She has multiple bank accounts, with one alone having Rs 25 lakh, as EOW officials found, adding that all her bank accounts have been frozen.

Active player
Investigators found that on the instructions of the other accused, Mitra was actively involved in the scam. She had brainwashed victims in order to induce them to invest in the scheme,” said special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat.

A victim, Sewri resident Arpita Majarekar, said, “She would conduct welcome sessions in malls and trap people with her sweet talk.

She had promised me and many others that if we invested in the scheme, we would get double the amount in three years.” Majarekar, who works in a private firm in Andheri, had invested nearly Rs 12.5 lakh in the scheme through Mitra.

She has been booked under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act, Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, and the Indian Penal Code.

jitu moni

11 months ago
Four persons, who were associated with Hong Kong-based QNET, a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, and duped 200 persons by promising them jobs, were arrested by Central Crime Station (CCS) officials on Thursday. However, the MD and directors of QNET and its sister company Vihaan Direct Selling are still at large.

Deputy commissioner of police (CCS) Avinash Mohanty said Sreenath Konda, Prasanna Kumar Reddy, V Kanchana, B Dhan Raj were arrested from different locations in the city for cheating people.

Police said the accused had been enrolling gullible people as agents by collecting Rs 10 lakh from a group of 10 persons.

Each person would be given status of promoter, direct them to attract a group (i.e., 10 persons) and make them join QNET by paying Rs 10 lakh, for which the promoter would be assured commission.

jitu moni

11 months ago
Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra Government to file the latest status report regarding investigation so far on the anticipatory bail plea of World Billiards champion Michael Ferreira and four others, who are facing charges of money laundering in the multi-crore QNet case.

The next hearing in the matter will take place on September 14.

Besides Ferreira, the others whose anticipatory bail plea were rejected were Malcom Desai, Vanka Srinivas, Maganlal Balaji, all directors of M/s Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt. Ltd, and Suresh Themiri, director of Transview Enterprises.
They are facing charges under Sections 420 (mischief), 468 (forgery), 471 (using forged document knowing it is not genuine) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Justice Mridula Bhatkar of the Bombay High Court, who took on record the statement of public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat that investigations were still on, had in May rejected their anticipatory bail pleas.

Ferreira had started the operations of QNet, a multi-level marketing company, in India via his firm Vihaan Enteprises.

The QNet cheating case began with a complaint by Gurpreet Singh Anand, who raised his voice after losing Rs. 30,000.

According to the police, the money involved has crossed Rs. 1,000 crores in the alleged scam with more than five lakh investors allegedly losing their money in the case against QNet which is being probed by the Economic Offences Wing.

jitu moni

1 year ago
NewsAmbit, New Delhi
Delhi Police Economic Offence Wing(EOW) has registered an FIR against QNET India/Vihaan Direct selling India Private Limited and its three independent representatives on the allegations of cheating and fraudulently operating the multi level marketing, which is illegal in India. Police have initiated the investigation and suspecting huge scam, which is estimated in crores.
A senior Police officer of EOW said that we received a combined complaint against QNET India and its three independent representatives from more than dozen of people in the month of March this year. As per the allegations of main complainant Anuj Jain alleged that his friend Himashu Aggarwal approached him for an business opportunity. He said that he is an independent representative(IR) of an e-commerce based company. He said that he can arrange an meeting with the other IR’s who will tell you about the business and if they find you suitable you will get chance to be a part of the company. After few days Himanshu called Anuj Jain to come with a CV at a café situated in Nehru Place area on 29 November 2015. Anuj reached there, where he met with Himanshu and his to associates Anita Jaggi and Kanika. Trio told him about the business profile and also assured that this is not a networking marketing company. They demanded Rs 6.5 lakh to be a member of the company. They also said that company has millions of customers. IR of the company is treated as a partner and also got the profit share for each sale. After three four days Anuj gave them 6.5 lakh rupees but after some time he got to know that this is a multi level marketing company and fraudulently cheating innocent persons by roping them in it’s banned business with the help of IRs.
Police said that Anuj is not the only complainant so many more complainants also approached to EOW. After which a preliminary enquiry had conducted. It was found that some persons who are termed as IR contact their friends and close persons to join a new e-commerce business. They don’t tell the name of the company or complete business module at the beginning. After alluring them they set various amounts from the victim. Independent Representatives(IR) get training during the joining and talk to make further members. These kinds of IRs of the company are operated from different cafes and food courts situated in Delhi and NCR.
Those who join the company get user id etc and products like ravel packages, some other items etc are shown purchase from their money. The delivery address given in the portal is also found of overseas area most of the time and mostly that address is too fake type location only which shows that no products are being sold and it is a completely a money circulation scheme. Two websites were found involved in the namely and were found mated to Vihaan Direct selling (India) Pvt ltd which is stated Indian Franchisee of Hong Kong based net company. Investigations are on. Police are trying to unearth the whole network of the IRs on which this company is running its business unlawfully in Delhi. A case has been registered u/s 420/120B/34 IPC and 4/5/6 of Prize Chits and money circulation Schemes(Banning) Act,1978 .

Profiles of IRs
Himashu works with Samsung
Anita Jaggi works with RBS

jitu moni

1 year ago

Bluru QNet agent who earned 50L a yr as commission held
Mumbai: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has arrested Ram Singh, an accused in the Rs 1,000 crore QNet case, for earning Rs 50 lakh or more as commission each year from proceeds of the crime.

Singh, a Bengaluru resident, was arrested last week after the imigration authorities at Bangalore airport detained him over a look out circular notice (LOC) issued by the Mumbai police. "We are going through all his bank account details and trying to ascertain the source of money to his account," said DCP Pravin Padwal of the EOW.

Singh's name had cropped up during the initial investigation in 2013 but the police could not locate him then. In January 2015, a police team visited his Bengaluru residence but did not find him there. The house was locked. He is the 19th accused to be arrested in this case so far.

"We are working to arrest all the culprits in this case. A special investigation team has been formed to nab the othe accused invovled," said Dhananjay Kamalakar, joint police commissioner, EOW. Singh, said police sources, has been sending money to his daughter who is studying in Canada. "We have to know his source of income. He has sent a major chunk of money to Canada. We suspect this money was gained from QNet. Moreover, he was looking after the QNet business in Dubai and has been shuttling between Dubai and India. We got his passport number late. Soon after getting it, we issued an LOC notice and he was detained," said an officer.

A special MPIDA court in February this year rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Michael Ferreira (77) winner of the World Amateur Billiards Championship and a Padma Bhushan recipient, and four others, Malcom Desai, Vanka Srinivas, Maganlal Balaji, all directors of M/s Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd and Suresh Themiri, director Transview Enterprises. They all have approached the high court now in the QNet case.

"They posed as a marketing firm which would sell bio-discs, watches, herbal products, holiday packages, etc. They even claimed that by using the bio-disc, one can cure cancer and brain diseases," cops said. Some money has been transferred to Malayasia, Singapore and Hong Kong, too, cops added.

jitu moni

1 year ago
Mumbai: The city's economic offences wing (EOW) is now looking into allegations that several Bollywood celebrities campaigned for the cheat firm, QNet, through advetisements or by promoting the schemes of the self-proclaimed marketing firm.

Gurupreet Singh Anand, complainant in the Rs 1,000-crore QNet cheating case, on Wednesday said at least four Bollywood actors promoted the Ponzi schemes at different times in the QNet's promotional programs in United Kingdom and Malaysia. He has submitted a 23-page letter wherein he has attached the celebrities' pictures promoting the programs.

"I have submitted letter and all the relevant information to the EOW on May 12. I am hoping some action soon," Anand told TOI. He alleged that the money was laundered from India to Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Anand was speaking at a press conference where suddenly a group of QNet sympathisers appeared with "I trust QNet" placards.. They were later asked to leave the conference room.

jitu moni

1 year ago

Hello Everyone

The company Qnet is celebrating VCon from 3-7 May. As a present,yesterday late night, I posted lot of comments on numerous pics uploaded on Instagram. I also posted on VChief Pathmans account. Unfortunately, they kept deleting my posts and had to ultimately block me. If each one of us, Indians, takes to instagram and starts posting messages like me, then they would have to either block us or abandon their account, which is their money making tool. You can start with Qnetofficial,TheV, Pathmans account, etc with phrases like Pyramid Scheme, Qnetscam, Franchise Fraud, Police arrests, court cases,Cheating, etc. They cannot stop us if we all work as one unit.

Hope we all teach them a lesson and save other fellow Indians.

Jai Hind

jitu moni

1 year ago
CM Devendra Fadnavis has assured detailed inquiry into QNet: BJP
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has promised to make a detailed inquiry of the alleged irregularities by the QNet multilevel marketing company and take action against the offenders, said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari on Saturday. Former union minister P. Chidambaram’s wife was a legal counsellor with the company.

The QNet company, which was earlier known as Goldquest, has cheated 12 lakh people to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees. The court has rejected anticipatory bail to the accused in this case. When the CM was contacted about this, he promised to make a detailed inquiry and take action. If necessary, he said that the CBI’s help would also be taken, said Mr Bhandari.

The party spokesperson demanded that the role of former Union minister P. Chidambaram and his wife needs to be probed in this case. “Mr Chidambaram’s wife was a legal counsellor of the concerned company. Taking note of complaint registered by a lawyer from Chennai, the Central Vigilance Department handed over the case to the CBI. The complaint also has a mention of former Union minister Shashi Tharoor. However, the CBI did not investigate the matter during the tenure of Congress government at the Centre,” he alleged.

In Maharashtra, the wife of Gurpreet Singh Anand had in 2013 filed a complaint of fraud against the company. However, there was not much inquiry during the Congress-NCP regime. But since the court has denied anticipatory bail to other accused, including sportsman Michael Ferreira, the investigation can be expedited. Many sensational things are expected to come out in the investigation as the CM has promised to carry out a detailed probe in the case, said Mr Bhandari.

jitu moni

1 year ago

Mumbai police seeks Zee business help in probe of QNet

jitu moni

1 year ago
A group of investors in the QNet multi-level market case on Sunday gathered near Holy Family Church and marched as a protest and public awarness against ponzi schemes. The protesetors reached at the house of accused Padma Bhushan Michael feriera in the QNet cheating case. The protesters were holding placards that read, Michel Ferriera Shame Shame! and Ban QNet".

"We chose Bandra for protest since most of the accused in this scam reside here. We had informed the police in advance and stated that the peaceful march will be for awareness about such fraud schemes and protest against such ponzi schemes," said Gurpreet Singh Anand, the first complainant in the QNet cheating case. He added that thgough it was his birthday but he did not spend time at home and was busy in the awareness drive.
Similar protests were held in New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad on Sunday. Last month a special MPIDA court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Michael Ferreira, winner of the World Amateur Billiards Championship and a Padma Bhushan recipient, and four others in the QNet case. They have approached the Bombay High Court for anticipatory bail. Ferreira, 77, and others had applied for anticipatory bail in 2014.

jitu moni

1 year ago
The economic offences wing of Mumbai police, probing the multicrore Qnet scam, has issued notices to Indian Super League (ISL) officials to gather details about taking sponsorship from the tainted company.
Qnet had made celebratory association as the official direct selling partner of Goa Football Club (FC Goa) throughout the Indian Super League 2015 season, from October to December. FC Goa is a part of the ISL football league tournament. Sources said the police are trying to find out the how the proceeds of crime of a company under serious investigation, have been used to sponsor the team. Police are also baffled as how the Qnet managed to generate money when its accounts have been seized. "We have sum moned ISL officials to understand the amount and flow of money in their sponsorship from the Qnet company which had defrauded several investors," said an official.

jitu moni

1 year ago

The fight against the Qnet scam wheré more than 7000 crores of rupees has been laundered out to foreign shores from India has just got bigger.

The Saradha Scam which started mainly in Bengal looks relatively smaller compared to the Qnet scam which had defrauded people across various cities like Mumbai,Delhi,Bangalore,Hyderabad etc for over a period of 10 years.

To unite and protest against this MLM scam plaguing India, all victims,activists, are requested that they gather outside Holy Family church,Hill Road,Bandra West at 10.30 A.M. tomorrow 24th April,2016.

Various press and media agencies will be present to cover the event meet and address grievances to authorities.

The current government has taken note of the Qnet scam and matter will be taken up at upcoming Parliament session.

All Indians are cordially invited to support the cause and join in the protest. We need to end the scam by spreading awareness and recover the money taken away by the scamsters.

A request to all to please forward this message on Facebook, twitter and WhatsApp groups... Jai Hind

Agyat Vyakti

1 year ago

Off the topic. This is just for awareness.. Qnet and MLM are using friends and relatives to dupe you... You may like to read Qnet modus operandi with screen shots and facts and how to avoid them here ... Please share for public interest.. Qnet Scam in delhi by Ashwin Baluja and Prithvi Raj Grover

jitu moni

1 year ago
The special court has rejected anticipatory bail applications of two directors of Vihaan, Suresh Thimiri of Transview as well as Malcolm Desai and Michael Ferreira, the stakeholders of Vihaan that handles QNet's MLM operations in India

The special Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Court on Tuesday rejected anticipatory bail applications of five accused in the multi-crore QNet scam. This includes, Srinivas Rao Vanka and Magaral Veervalli Balaji, both directors of Vihaan Direct selling (India) Pvt Ltd, Suresh Thimiri, director of Transview Enterprises India Pvt Ltd, Malcolm Nozer Desai, who is 20% stakeholder in Vihaan and Michael Joseph Ferreira, former world champion of billiards and 80% stakeholder in Vihaan.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police, which is probing the case, had invoked the stringent MPID Act against controversial multi-level marketing (MLM) company QNet, which has denied any wrongdoing on its part.

Transview Enterprises is an associate company of Vihaan Direct Selling Pvt Ltd that handles QNet's multi-level marketing (MLM) operations in India since 14 April 2012. Vihaan Direct Selling, in which Michael Ferreira, the former world billiards champion, owns 80% stake, is a direct selling agent of QNet and had done large financial transactions with Thimiri's company Transview.

The EOW had booked several accused including the former world champion of billiards and five companies related with QNet, under the MPID Act. This means all the cases against QNet, Vihaan and all those involved in the MLM scam would be heard before the special MPID Court. Until now, the accused were being investigated for cheating and forgery under the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978, and for money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In February 2014, the ED registered a case under the prevention of money laundering act (PMLA) against QNet, Vihaan Direct Selling, Ferreira and QNet founder Vijay Eswaran and three other independent representatives (IRs) of the MLM operator.
Gurupreet Singh Anand, a computer consultant from Lokhandawala, Andheri in his first information report (FIR) stated that his wife was duped for Rs30,000 by some people who had introduced themselves as the independent representatives (IRs) of QNet. Anand told the police, “They (IRs) had said that one of the bio-products my wife bought could be used to treat my 12-year-old son's brain-related diseases.”

jitu moni

2 years ago
MUMBAI: Investors who lost their money in major scams and multi-level marketing's cheating cases can heave a sigh of relief now. The state government has appointed 49 new competent authorities (CAs) to take decision in as many as 101 cases regisered under the strinent law, The Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act. This will help to dispose of as much as Rs 10,000 crore of investors that is stuck in over a hundred cheating cases' legal battle.

Earlier, the city economic offences wing (EOW) had only two competent authorities. "CAs will proceed with the procedure of disposal of properties and realisation of money for repayment to the investors. It will expedite the process of recovery and will help the victims who have been cheated to get their money back," said Dhananajay Kamalamakr, joint commissioner of police and EOW chief.

The big cases where these CAs will focus first include the cheating cases incluidng National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL), QNet, SpeakAsia, fixed deposit scam led by Sheesha lounge owner Mohammed Fasih and the Mumbai District Cooperative Bank. SpeakAsia alone has over 24 lakh investors. The money lost in this case is over Rs 2,276 crore while investors' over Rs 6,000 crore is stuck in the NSEL case.
TOI had on October 11, 2015 reported about that as many as 62 cases under the MPID act were pending in a city court due to non-appointment of a competent authority. While seized properties of the accused in all the above cases await disbursement among the victims, the city police has sent a proposal to the state for several amendments including the appointment of CA for a speedy return of public money, said police sources. More than Rs 10,000 crore public money is stuck in MPID cases in the city alone, they said.

"Earlier, non-appointment of competent authority defeated the objective of the enactment of the MPID Act," said an EOW officer. While an investigating officer probes the criminal part of a case, the civil aspects such as the attachment of properties, sale-realization of properties, and disbursement of sale proceeds to the victims are exclusively in the domain of the competent authority who is a revenue officer of deputy collector rank.

"It is observed that competent authority has been appointed in 23 cases in the city MPID cases earlier, notification of the properties in the official gazette is yet to be published. Hence, it would be better to have CAs with independent portfolio for MPID cases," said a senior IPS officer.

Major cases where the appointment of competent authority will give relief to investors:

· NSEL Rs 6,000 crore
· SpeakAsia Rs 2,276 crore
· QNet Rs 425 crore
· FD scam Rs 325 crore
· Mumbai District Cooperative Bank Rs 119 crore

Is UID anti-people?-Part 3: Tall claims and tomfoolery of UID

Neither LPG nor any other subsidy leakage would be reduced though the use of UID. All that would happen is untold misery for the subsidy recipient. This is the third part of a nine-part series on the unique identification number scheme and its possible misuse by politicians, bureaucrats and foreign contractors


Tall Claims
It is not possible to deal with all the welfare schemes here for which these tall claims are made. Hence, only the claims about reduction in LPG subsidy leakages are discussed here, as typical of other similar claims. Tomfoolery means absurdity. The adjective aptly describes the UID scheme. UID is a scheme that involves a lot of scheming and schemers. The "Tomfoolery Show" is an American cartoon comedy television series. A really funny and popular, oft-repeated scene in this comic is of a delivery boy running around trying to deliver a large plant shouting, "Plant for Mrs Discobolus". One could find it quite funny to imagine a LPG delivery boy running around shouting, "Subsidised LPG cylinder for Mrs Aadhaary; family line up for fingerprint authentication" in the real-life UID comedy show. Comedy shows provide comic relief.

Unfortunately, while the UID scheme's objectives are laughable, they cannot be laughed off, since, before the scheme collapses under the weight of its own contradictions and falsehoods, it would have brought untold damage to the nation's social fabric and compromised personal security of millions of Indians.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairperson made several tall claims about the UID scheme's potential to reduce subsidy leakages, in talks to media many times. Thus, he reportedly said that LPG subsidy leakages could be reduced by Rs12,000 crore using UID. He has never specified how this could be done. He hinted at authenticating the buyer/customer of the LPG cylinder. He did not mention when the authentication would be done. He headed a task-force on subsidies. The task-force submitted an interim report. A ministerial panel approved and accepted the report. The report recommends the use of UID for authenticating recipients of welfare subsidies. What else could one expect when the task-force is headed by the person who is spear-heading the UID project? This is like asking the accountant to check the veracity of the accounts he has prepared. More crudely, one could say, it is like asking the thief or the one who created a problem to suggest measures to prevent theft or prevent recurrence of the problem.

It reminds one, of Edgar Wallace's novel, "The Joker". In the novel, a rich man gifts a jail to the city where he lives. Later he is caught for fraud and jailed in the same jail he had gifted. He had made a tunnel from the jail to the outside, when he had it constructed. He escaped through the tunnel, playing a clever joke on the city. Enough escape hatches have been built into the UID scheme for those who are indulging in this colossal waste of public money to deny responsibility when it fails, as it is bound to.

A few of the task-force's recommendations on LPG

The biometric authentication 'tamasha' is the fulcrum on which rests the assumption that subsidies could be prevented using UID. Let's look at how ridiculous this assumption and the task-force's recommendations are in just one welfare subsidy scheme-LPG. Here are a few of the recommendations...

1.    Details pertaining to customers availing subsidised LPG would be published on the transparency portal of the oil company.
2.    Call centres would be established to address customer complaints.
3.    Distributors would be compensated for additional working capital they would need to stock non-subsidised LPG cylinders. (No one knows how much the compensation would be and how it would be paid. The task force does not deal with such trivialities.)
4.    "Aadhaar numbers of all members of households would be seeded against customer data". (Such phrases intended to confuse abound in the task-force report. Why use words, like, 'seeded'? It probably means that since each LPG connection has one name on it, the names and UID numbers and biometrics of all members of his/ her family would be captured and stored in the UID and perhaps, oil company database. Imagine the problem when a member of the family would have if he/ she moves out and lives separately.)
5.    The bank account numbers will also be collected and seeded! (Thus, if one wants to obtain a subsidised LPG connection, the bank accounts of all members of the family and their biometrics would have to be given to UIDAI.)
6.    "De-duplication on Aadhaar to eliminate ghost connections will be done. Application software will be developed; (What will be the cost of development of this software?) hardware will be fully compatible with UIDAI standards. (What will be the hardware cost? Who all will need both the software and hardware-the oil companies, government civil supplies departments, dealers, etc?)
7.    Subsidised LPG cylinders will be provided only to targeted/segmented customers. The process of identifying will be notified by government. (The Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas has recommended that subsidised LPG be given only to those with annual income less than Rs6 lakh per annum. I had written to the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the National Identification Authority of India (NIA) Bill informing them that the frauds in welfare schemes are in decisions on eligibility and not caused by identity problems. The Parliament Committee accepted the same and wrote it into their report. So, how and who would identify those with less than Rs6 lakh annual income? Would your fingerprints reveal your annual income? What happens when one loses a job, receives a promotion, changes jobs, etc?)  

The task-force then says that pilot projects to test whether their method would work would be undertaken in two districts in Hyderabad and Mysore. Conflicting reports have appeared in the press on these pilots. Some said that oil companies have rejected the method. Another press report said that the ministries of finance and petroleum and oil company executives accepted the method. I sent RTI queries to oil companies. They replied stating that the pilot trials are incomplete. The ministry of finance denied any knowledge of it. Replies from other, including UIDAI have not been received. The RTI replies are placed in appendices to this monograph.
Ground realities

Let's see how the recommendations would work on ground. It is incredible that such a scheme would be launched with imaginary uses and halfway through its implementation, the promoters would be running pilot studies to test its feasibility. Is this how a responsible government and a former business magnate are expected to launch projects?

The logic of "authentication at delivery using UID numbers" proposed by the task-force is baffling. Are the intelligent people that staff the task-force not aware that it would be a simple matter to check diversions of domestic cylinders for commercial use? Cylinders of different colours are used for domestic and commercial purposes. The oil company delivers cylinders at the location of the customer. Does the task-force think that domestic customers then sell the cylinders to commercial enterprises? If, as the task force seem to say, large-scale diversions of subsidised LPG cylinders take place, are they suggesting that large number of people of this country are thieves? Do they not know that it is impossible to divert LPG cylinders without the connivance of the oil companies, their distributors and the civil supplies department officials?

Recently, it was reported that a chief minister of a state had surrendered three of the four LPG connections he had. How many politicians and bureaucrats have more than one connection? During the 2G scam, it was reported that a former Central Government minister for telecommunications had a BSNL telephone exchange installed for his personal use with over 300 lines. Whatever happened to that revelation? The purpose of the analogy is to show that it is not the people who are misusing facilities, but those in authority.

Why not use the customer number to detect diversion? Why another number, such as UID?

Reverting back to the LPG issue, every customer has a number given by the oil company for his/her connection. Oil companies and their agents have databases with the number of cylinders consumed every month by each customer. Everyone knows that an average family would consume a cylinder in about a month and a half. If a customer is found consuming say several cylinders a month, is it not possible to check on such customers to detect diversions or commercial use?

Recently, Karnataka government asked all LPG customers to provide their electric meter numbers to check if more than one connection exists in a household. This was an equally foolish exercise. A defence department layout had just one meter for 200 houses!
Instead of looking at where the diversion and mischief is taking place, the task force, driven by the UIDAI chief are barking up the wrong tree, trying to fix a small leak in the dyke, when part of the dyke wall has caved in.
Now look at the problems associated with authentication at delivery. The person in whose name the gas connection exists would have to be present at the time of delivery to authenticate him/her. To get round this stupidity, UIDAI has recommended linking the biometrics of all members of the family and their bank accounts with the LPG connection. Are they not able to visualize situations where no family member would be present, as when all of them would be working or at school/college and servant or neighbour collects the delivery?

To authenticate at delivery, every sales truck would have to carry a scanning device. Are these delivery staffs capable of handling such devices with the care they need? What would happen if, for whatever reason, lack of connectivity or malfunction of the device, the authentication fails? How many undelivered cylinders are oil companies and their distributors willing to accept? How many trips are they willing to accept for such failed deliveries? Imagine the hardship the family would have to go through in such situations. What is the cost of all this? Has the cost of scanners for every truck, the cost of spare scanners, their maintenance cost, the training cost for delivery personnel and so on been accounted for? Why are UIDAI and the government persisting with this foolishness in attempting to find uses for UID?
Authentication in other welfare schemes

The task-force has recommended that every retail fertiliser shop be equipped with scanners. They say that there 2.3 lakh retail fertiliser shops (Paragraph 7.2.1 page 40 Task-Force interim report). There are over 5 lakh ration shops, as on 30 Jun 2011.
PIB news release. All these shops would have to be equipped and the shop owners and staff trained in handling scanning devices. Only a fool would think that this is feasible. Almost all countries in the world subsidize goods and service to their people. How many of them have indulged in such stupidity?

Take USA for example. How do they authenticate farmers who are given the subsidies? Our government and the UIDAI chairperson are ardent followers of the US economic system. In the US, $277.3 billion was distributed as subsidies to agri-businesses, between 1995 and 2011. Of this, the top 10% collected 75% of all subsidies, amounting to $172.2 billion. The rich farmer received $31,400 per year. The poor farmer at the bottom 80% got $594 per year. (Please see
EWG Farm Subsidies website for details ). This is what targeted cash transfers could do. Perhaps, this indeed is the purpose, to be able to send the subsidies to those whom the government in power wishes to favour.

Cash transfers and changing power equation

Once UID is in place, as far as welfare schemes are concerned, power will shift to the party in power at the Centre. Even though the parties in governments in the states may decide on who receives subsidies by identification of eligible persons, the control of distribution of the subsidies would be in the hands of the Central Government, since the authentication process is controlled by the UIDAI, which is a central authority. This would be especially true of centrally funded welfare schemes. For example, a village or electoral constituency that has not voted for the Central Government party could be discriminated against and subsidies denied on various pretexts.

A World Bank report points to the cash transfers in Columbia wherein the people tended to vote for the party in power perceiving them as the giver of the largesse.

Secondly, it is easier to swipe cash than goods. For example, for a customer to sell a LPG cylinder in black market or for an agent to divert a number of cylinders for commercial use is more difficult than to siphon off cash transferred to banks accounts.

LPG cash subsidy could be transferred to non-eligible people, if eligibility criteria are stipulated, or people with fake IDs. It is possible to fake fingerprints with a cost as little as Rs30. This was demonstrated to an E-governance secretary of a state government. Today, LPG subsidy is universal. Hence, there is no need to fake eligibility.

Thirdly, it would be much easier to divert the cash subsidy, even by eligible persons, since the subsidised cylinder need not be delivered at all, but instead, only authentication of the buyers done as if it has been delivered. To illustrate, assume that the LPG subsidy policy is that a household with income below Rs6 lakh per annum is eligible for six subsidised cylinders. Firstly, there is no way an oil company or government could verify the income of the household or the person in whose name the LPG connection is taken. Persons and households could fall into and come out of such income brackets. The 'eligible' household could merely be shown as having bought the cylinders, without taking delivery of the cylinders. The oil company's dealer merely obtains the scanned biometric to show the purchase. The cash is received by the household in the bank and cash given to the delivery boy/dealer in a mutually agreed sharing pattern. The cylinder is sent for commercial use where the subsidised cost is collected for payment to the oil company.

The moral of the story is that any system is only as good as the people who manage it. For example, there are laws against depositing and withdrawing cash and paying in cash beyond the stipulated sums (Rs50,000 for deposits and Rs20,000 for payments).

Akilesh Yadav, current UP CM deposited Rs44.67 lakhs in cash and paid the same amount through cash to a government department (Nazul department), as per media reports. Akilesh said that he received the sum as loan from his party. The I-T Appellate Tribunal ruled that there was no scope for introducing any black money for transfer of cash from one concern to another concern and that the genuineness of the transaction was beyond doubt. In a country where such rulings happen, how could UID hope to stop diversion of subsidies?

India's welfare schemes under foreign company control

Lastly, one should note that it is not the UIDAI that authenticates the person receiving the subsidy cash transfer, but a private foreign company and its official who manages the biometric database of all Indian residents. Thus, the social welfare system of the Nation would be run at the whims and fancies of private foreign companies.

Who would be legally responsible for fraud or failure to authenticate or false authentication? Would the UIDAI or the foreign company be responsible? While the matter is being decided, how would the person who did not receive the LPG cylinder cook his/her food? Is it possible for the foreign company to either create discontent or discredit a government deliberately make large-scale errors?

One could argue that it is unlikely that the foreign firms would not have any interest in who receives the subsidies. That could be true, though not necessarily so. They could have other motivations. The foreign company could be influenced or could on its own decide to sabotage the system. No nation would be idiotic enough to have its entire demographic database and welfare systems in the hands of private foreign companies, but the UIDAI seems to be doing exactly that. The UIDAI and the task-force on subsidies headed by its chairperson have been careful to hide this fact by showing the authentication in flow diagrams in its report as being done by UIDAI. At the same time the UIDAI has refused to disclose the contracts with these foreign companies.
Neither LPG nor any other subsidy leakage would be reduced though use of UID. All that would happen is untold misery for the subsidy recipient. It is high time the people of this nation realise the charade played on them and stop it.   

(Col (Retd.) Mathew Thomas is a former defence services officer and missile scientist turned civic activist, campaigning against state database control of the people.)

Is UID anti-people? –Part 2: A bundle of contradictions, misconceptions & mirages
Is UID anti-people? The database state –Part1




P M Ravindran

5 years ago

I am not going to comment on UID but on the efforts I had to make to land on this page. I landed on the 9th part of this series first. It had links to the rest 8 and I could land on all 7 except this by just clicking on those links. Now curiosity took over. And copied the URLs of all those available links and studied the changes and learnt that what mattered, apart from the text, was the last 5 digit figure. Went back to the competitive exam days of the 1970s and worked it out successfully! In the bargain I also learnt that it is this figure that matters most. With same text but different figures I landed on a few reports which of course had no relation to the text in the url!

Krishnaswami CVR

5 years ago

The article appears to be biased and highlighting hardships. Even though it talks about privacy, it does not highlight that privacy of details is highest danger in this scheme. The comments on the cash deposits and withdrawal is an indication that the author does not look into the matter dispassionately, but with biased mind. I stopped reading after the said lines. The lines are an indication of wordplay which the article alleges on the part of the government. Is it illegal to deposit cash in excess of Rs.20K? The article alleges so. I request the author to quote me the relevant law. My bankers accept cash in excess of Rs.50k in my account with the condition that i indicate my pan number in the voucher of deposit. They never told me it is illegal. Is it illegal to pay more than Rs.20K ? I am paying rent in excess of 20K and i get a cash reeipt? is it illegal. Dear author build arguments based on fact and not otherwise.

BSE Sensex Nifty trying to break out of a narrow trading zone: Wednesday Closing Report

If the Nifty rallies higher, the next target would be 6,050

The market ended in the green for the second day on optimism from Indian parliamentarians on the government’s reforms and positive global cues. The market indices are trying to break out of a narrow trading zone. If the Nifty rallies higher, the next target would be 6,050. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) witnessed a volume of 84.35 crore shares and an advance-decline ratio of 1021:708.
The market gained in opening trade as the Lok Sabha (Lower House) late Tuesday passed the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, paving the way for overhaul of the banking sector. A positive trend in the Asian markets ahead of the outcome of the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting also supported the gains. Optimism on hopes of a budget deal to avoid higher taxes saw the US markets closing higher on Tuesday.
The Nifty opened 20 points higher at 5,917 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,430, up 65 points. All-round buying in early trade helped the benchmarks hit their intraday highs. At that point, the Nifty stood at 5,939 and the Sensex rose to 19,516.
Although profit booking at the highs saw the indices pare part of their gains in subsequent trade, they were still in the green on domestic and global support. The market touched its low in noon trade with the Nifty falling to 5,911 and the Sensex went back to 19,420.
The market settled in the green for the second day amid a range-bound session. The Nifty gained 33 points (0.56%) to 5,930 and the Sensex advanced 111 points 0.57%) to settle at 19,476. 
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.55% and the BSE Small-cap index settled 0.55% higher. 
The top sectoral gainers were BSE Auto (up 1.84%); BSE Healthcare (up 1.58%); BSE Metal (up 1.49%); BSE IT (up 1.33%) and Oil & Gas (up 1.30%). BSE Capital Goods (down 0.62%); BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 0.38%) and BSE Consumer Durables (down 0.05%) ended up as losers. 
Twenty three of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The chief gainers were Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 3.44%); Tata Motors (up 3.29%); ONGC (up 3.16%); Wipro (up 2.55%) and Jindal Steel & Power (up 2.36%). HDFC (down 1.83%); Larsen & Toubro (down 1.36%); ITC (down 1.18%); ICICI Bank (down 0.89%) and NTPC (down 0.32%) were the main losers on the index.
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Adani Power (up 6.54%) and Federal Bank (up 5.94%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Gitanjali Gems (down 2.91%) and NHPC (down 2.04%).
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—TVS Electronics (up 20%) and Tarapur Transformers (up 19.99%)
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Mahanivesh India (down 19.99%) and Niraj Cement (down 19%).
Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 40 stocks settled in the positive. The major gainers were Sun Pharma (up 4.47%); Asian Paints (up 3.36%); ONGC (up3.22%); Tata Motors (up 3.17%) and Jindal Steel & Power (up 2.75%). The chief losers were HDFC (down 2%); Axis Bank (down 1.47 %); L&T (down 1.45%); ITC (1.43%) and ICICI Bank (down 0.95%).
The Asian pack closed mostly higher on hopes that the Japanese central bank will continue with its loose monetary policy and announce new reforms to boost the economy. The US optimism also supported the sentiments.
The Hang Seng climbed 0.57%; the KLSE Composite advanced 0.37%; the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.395; the Straits Times added 0.06%; the Seoul Composite gained 0.51% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 0.44% higher. Bucking the trend, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.01% and the Jakarta Composite fell 0.594.
At the time of writing, the CAC 40 of France was up 0.45%; the DAX was up0.37% and UK’s FTSE 100 was 0.62% higher. At the same time, the US stock futures were trading with gains, indicating a firm opening for the US markets later in the day.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling 922.37 crore on Tuesday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks amounting to Rs491.12 crore.
Reliance Power said three of its promoters will offload 5.42% stake in the firm in order to comply with the minimum public shareholding norms. Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Innoventures Pvt Ltd and AAA Project Ventures Pvt Ltd will together sell more than 15.21 crore equity shares, making up about 5.42% stake in the company. Reliance Power declined 0.71% to settle at Rs97.80 on the NSE.
Natco Pharma has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Abbreviated New Drug Application for Lansoprazole Delayed Release Capsules. The prescription drug is indicated for the treatment of gastric (stomach) ulcers. The stock jumped 4.74% to close at Rs491.25 on the NSE.
Leading non-banking finance company Shriram City Union Finance has got fair trade regulator CCI's approval for a proposed merger of its two group companies through a multi-stage transaction.
As per the proposed transaction, Shriram Enterprise Holdings Pvt Ltd (SEHPL) would be first amalgamated with Shriram Retail Holdings Pvt Ltd (SRHPL) and thereafter the consolidated entity would be merged into Shriram City Union Finance (SCUFL). SCUFL fell 2.24% to close at Rs870 on the NSE.


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