While granting bail to two accused in the multi-crore QNet multi-level marketing (MLM) fraud case, the special Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Court said the activities of the MLM are not legal. The MPID Court granted bail to Srinivas Rao Vanka, Magaral V Balaji and Aditi Mitra.
"I would also like to mention here that prima-facie the activities of QNet seems to be not legal. The reasons for the same is already discussed in the bail orders of the co-accused. Hence pending the final hearing of the petition before the Supreme Court, they cannot be allowed to continue with the same or similar or like illegal activities, "Justice DP Surana said in an order issued on 30 March 2017.
Based on the decision given by the apex court, the MPID Court granted bail to Vanka, Balaji and Mitra on similar terms and condition as stated by the Supreme Court while giving bail to prime accused Michael Ferreira, the former world billiards champion, and his partner Malcolm Nozer Desai last week.
Requesting the MPID Court to reject the bail applications, Gurupreet Singh Anand, the complainant in the case, stated that the Bombay High Court has held the activities of QNet as illegal which was confirmed by the Apex Court and as such, the illegal activities should not be continued.
In his order, the Special Judge of MPID Court stated, "The role of applicants (Vanka, Balaji and Mitra), as regards to Section 3 of the MPID Act is concerned, being Director, Independent Representative (IR) or trainer will be less to the role of Michael Ferreira and Malcolm Desai. So also, when the order of the Apex Court, is very clear that there shall be stay on further proceeding in all the 19 first information reports (FIRs) pending hearing and final disposal of the petition, there is no propriety in keeping the applicants too behind the bars."
Earlier, the Bombay High Court had rejected the anticipatory bail applications of all the accused calling the whole business of QNET as “prima facie illegal business”.
The HC order mentioned "The motto of the company 'sell more, earn more' appears very attractive and innocuous. However, this motto is fully camouflaged. The company stands on a basic statement that people can be fooled. Thus, the true motto is 'sell more earn more' by fooling people. In fact it is a chain where a person is fooled and then he is trained to fool others to earn money. For that purpose, workshops are conducted where study and business material is provided with a jugglery of words, promises and dreams. Thus, the deceit and fraud is camouflaged under the name of e-marketing and business."
"It has very grave and serious impact on the economic status and mental health of the people on a large scale. On considering parameters of section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, I am not inclined to protect the accused. It will not be out of place to mention that such circulation is required to be stopped. It is necessary for the prosecution to take injunctive steps against this business activity, which is prima facie, illegal.”
Even, the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) had termed the whole business of the QI GROUP in India as a “threat to the national security” said the whistle blower Gurupreet Anand who submitted the SFIO report in Bombay High Court as well as Supreme Court of India along with other documents and the Supreme Court had dismissed all special leave petitions (SLPs) filed by all the accused ordering them to surrender within seven days.
In February 2014, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) too had 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.”