Ashok Saraogi, former counsel of SpeakAsia, is arrested in a cheating case: report
Currently, Advocate Saraogi is representing Rahul Raj in the Pratyusha Banerjee suicide case, and in 2011 addressed the press as counsel for SpeakAsia online survey company accused of duping lakhs of people for about Rs2,276 crore
Senior advocate Ashok Saraogi, who once represented Speak Asia, the controversial online survey company, was arrested on Sunday for cheating and forging documents to help a client grab land in Raigad, says a report. Advocate Saraogi, who hit headlines for representing gangster Abu Salem in the Pradeep Jain murder case, is currently representing Rahul Raj in the Pratyusha Banerjee suicide case.
According to a report from Mumbai Mirror
, Advocate Saraogi was remanded in police custody till 25th April, while two more lawyers, Sohel Kazi and IVY Tauro, who too have been accused in the case, will spend three days each in custody starting Monday.
"The arrest on Sunday came after Saraogi surrendered at the Azad Maidan police station following his decision to withdraw an anticipatory bail filed before the Supreme Court. The anticipatory bail application in the Supreme Court was Saraogi's third attempt to avoid arrest in a case where he stands accused of helping businessman Ashish Bagaria and his father Santosh Kumar Bagaria usurp nine parcels of land belonging Ashish's estranged wife Nickee in Raigad. Earlier, his anticipatory bail applications at Sessions Court and Bombay High Court, where the land grab case is being heard, too were rejected," the report says.
In the case filed by Nickee in the court, she has alleged that her husband and his father forged back-dated a memorandum of understanding to enter into a deal to acquire the Raigad land to one of their relatives Vinod Jhunjhunwala without her knowledge. According to the report, under sustained questioning in the court, the Bagarias admitted that they had paid Mr Saraogi Rs5 lakh to create backdated documents to match with a power of attorney Nickee had revoked in 2014.
Earlier in 2011, Advocate Saraogi called a press conference in Mumbai, barely five days after Speak Asia's first media interface. Speaking at the press conference, Mr Saraogi said, "The company (Speak Asia) is not selling any surveys to panellists, but e-zines to its subscribers. Surveys are offered as additional benefit and can be withdrawn any time if the company's contract with clients comes to an end."
The senior lawyer had also claimed that Speak Asia is selling its magazine over the Internet, which is allowed under the existing law in India and the company is in the publications business. Although Mr Saraogi had said that he was a legal advisor for Speak Asia, not a single official from the company was present at the press conference.
Few days later in June 2011, Speak Asia's PR agency LinOpinion Public Relations, a division of Lowe Lintas group, also decided to stay away from the controversial MLM company within three months after winning the full service business for Speak Asia.
Last year in April, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), attached bank balances worth Rs101.06 crore in accounts related with multi-crore SpeakAsia chain marketing scheme. In a tweet, the ED had said its Mumbai regional office attached the balance under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
Earlier, in February 2015, Mumbai Police arrested six persons including Sanjeev Mehta, the Country Head (Sales) of SpeakAsia, in the Rs2,276 crore cheating case.
In July 2011, Navneet Khosla, a Mumbai resident, had filed a police complaint stating that the firm had promised a return of Rs52,000 on his investment of Rs11,000.
Those arrested by Mumbai Police include Hemant Suryavanshi, Hemant Chavan, Sudhanshu Tripathy, Virendra Singh and Hasmukh Patel. Suryavanshi, Chavan, Tripathy and Singh were SpeakAsia's franchise holders while Patel, who was arrested from Ahmedabad, ran Patel communication franchise.