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Moneylife » Economy & Nation » MLM / Chain Money » QNet, the MLM has resurfaced in India; will people be duped again?

QNet, the MLM has resurfaced in India; will people be duped again?

Sucheta Dalal and Yogesh Sapkale | 15/11/2012 05:47 PM | 

QuestNet and GoldQuest, which all but closed down in 2009, have emerged bigger and stronger as QNet.  But the hype and hard-sell by this MLM company to ensnare people into enrolling distributors and hawking lifestyle products such as watches, gold coins, bio-discs, herbal products and travel packages is worrying. Will it also go the SpeakAsia, Stockguru and NMart way while regulators do nothing?

 
QuestNet and GoldQuest, multi-level marketing (MLM) companies that had shut shop in 2009 following police action are back with a bigger bang. They now calls themselves QNet and is thriving in an environment where tens of thousands of Ponzis and MLM companies are able to lure people into believing that they have the formula to instant riches and a high growth career. 
 
While QuestNet and GoldQuest, which mainly sold numismatic gold coins (they claimed they were limited edition coins that whose value would increase over time) in 2009 were forced to shut shop in India, their new avatar QNet offers a broader range of lifestyle ‘enhancing’ products (holiday packages, diamond watches, bio-discs, Chi-Pendants and herbal products for anything between Rs30,000 to Rs7 lakh), which promise fabulously high returns so long as new distributors are enrolled rapidly. Its product brochure says, “With 8 ways to earn and up to 50% of the sales paid out in commissions, QNET offers the most dynamic and innovative compensation plan in the direct selling profession.”
 
 
Like SpeakAsia, QNet is also registered in Singapore and has been banned in many countries, including Iran. It has a Hong Kong-based founder Dato’ Vijay Eswaran, a Malaysian by birth and an Indian by ethnicity, who is photographed hobnobbing with the Prince of Saudi Arabia, in order to enhance its credibility in the Gulf. 
 
The last time around, QNet was being evangelised by former World Billiards champ Michael Ferriera, as well as some former national cricketers. This time, it is being hard-sold by senior corporate executives, including heads of multinational companies, who have been forced to quit in the 40s and 50s, having fallen off the career ladder. Moneylife has received emails from several worried readers asking us to bring the “QNet scam” to the attention of regulators before it dupes their friends and relatives already ensnared by the hard-sell.
 
One reader says, “QNet dealers are now targeting call centre employees, IT professionals and housewives on the promise of helping them earn extra income.” “QNet,” he says, “has small office, which it refers to as a “Grooming Centre” at Bandra in Mumbai. Its dealers and agents, however, rent out conference facilities for their rousing hard-sell which, like the Amway meetings, usually happens on a Sunday morning. To become member, you have to buy products—exquisite watches, holiday package, Chi-Pendants, gold and diamond jewellery—which are in the range of Rs1 lakh to Rs2.5 lakh and then to start earning commission; you have to make six other people to buy products”. But this is the simple option. The ‘packages’ go up to Rs6 lakh or more too. Also, there are apparently different schemes and packages being sold to different investors, rather than one clear product or service. 
 
For instance, Anil Mehta (name changed) a certified financial planner has this to say. “QNet is projecting that it can create over lakh billionaires through its Ponzi scheme. All you have to do is to invest once—say Rs5lakh and you will get back Rs 5lakh every week for the rest of your life. I know you will laugh, but this is exactly what they are projecting”. He says, since they claim to be a global company, they have managed to get bank managers, software professionals and insurance agents to get involved and evangelise this scheme. 
 
Manoj Arora (name changed), a chartered accountant and management consultant tells us how he decided to string along a QNet ‘operative’ to understand its modus operandi which promises to make you a millionaire in two or three years. 
 
He was scandalized at what he discovered and says, “QNet is just not about Amway-esque MLM but a Stockguru-type pyramid scheme. The premise is to get more and more people to invest Rs1 lakh to Rs6 lakh in an 'e-commerce' venture. They make you owners of QI group by selling three shares for every Rs1 lakh. How does that generate returns? The victims who are enrolled into the scheme, in turn hunt for newer victims to buy into the Ponzi. They are entitled to get 14% of share capital they or their victims raise. The scam is proliferating through social media like Linked-in to find newer targets. This reader had stored names and screenshots of people canvassing QNet from their profiles on Linked-in. 
 
Amrit (name changed), yet another reader wrote to say, “I was very recently approached by an ex-colleague with one wonderful scheme by QNet and he explained the products and plans of the company. I signed up for it on the basis of my trust in this friend. However, after joining I observed that the company is promoting its money-making plan by targeting the near and dear ones of those who has enrolled. I am now a suspicious about the activities of QNet and its functioning and skeptical about the manner in which they approach people. Can you tell me more about QNet?”
 
Well, the company had a chequered past. In 2008-09 it was making waves like it is today. At that time, it flaunted powerful political connections (at that time a GoldQuest executive, K Preetha had said that Nalini Chidambaram was a legal advisor. This was after we pointed out that that the connection was highlighted at its meetings to recruit/ensnare new agents). However, QuestNet virtually folded-up after the Chennai police arrested several employees and the business was in completely disarray. 
 
At that time, QNet’s Singapore-based Director of Corporate Affairs, Zaheer K Merchant had attempted to convince us that the business model was fair and in line with the activities of other direct marketing and MLM companies such as Amway, Tupperware and other multinationals which were members of the Indian Direct Selling Association. He also tried to explain the problems at Chennai.
 
Interestingly, QNet’s response was to organise a junket for journalists to Hong Kong to show that the company was not running a ‘scam’. This writer also received an invite, which we DID NOT accept. J Mayer, the Managing Director of QI Group had then written to say, “I believe that you are familiar with the names QuestNet and GoldQuest which have been in the media spotlight in Tamil Nadu and other areas of India for about a year or so.  Unfortunately, I am aware that the names QuestNet and GoldQuest do not have a positive image in the minds of either the media or the general public at this present moment.
 
Due to the legal challenges that both the companies have been facing, in India for over a year now it has unfortunately led to both companies being forced to halt their operations and temporarily close down their offices. However, the companies are by no means non-existent. Thus the MD of QuestNet India, Ms Pushpam Appalanaidu has not been in any position to make media statements or invite the media to an open forum to answer questions about the two entities.
 
As we continue to defend our case in the court of law to prove our legitimacy, we would like to take the opportunity to show you that QuestNet and/or GoldQuest are not a ‘scam’ or a ‘gold coin fraud’ company as it has often been portrayed in the press this past year.
 
QuestNet Ltd, the international company with which QuestNet India is affiliated is headquartered in Hong Kong and through representative and agent offices, has a presence in over 30 countries worldwide. The international company has been in the multi-level marketing business for about 11 years and caters to the needs of over 4 million customers in more than 100 countries worldwide who have taken advantage of the business opportunity provided by QuestNet to be a direct sales professional.
 
In order for us to show you the real face of QuestNet and share with you the story of the company that has changed millions of lives worldwide, we would like to invite you to visit our corporate headquarters in Hong Kong, where you can see for yourself our global infrastructure, meet with our multinational customer support team, go on a tour of our facilities including our warehouse from where thousands of products are shipped worldwide on a daily basis, meet with the senior management of QuestNet International  and learn about the investments the company has made in India with a view of long term commitment to the country”.
 
This time too, we reached out to QNet and Mr Merchant has agreed to answer all out queries. Accordingly, Moneylife has emailed several questions to QNet and we are awaiting answers which will be appended to this report. 
 
Since then, Moneylife has done extensive work on all MLMs and come to the conclusion that all of them fall foul of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.  We have also made representations to the Prime Minister’s office to ban MLMs altogether or allow them to operate under a clear regulatory framework under a designated regulator. 
 
Today, while tens of thousand MLMs and Ponzis are cheating people no ministry or regulator is in charge. The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) does not even require these companies to be incorporated in India. This ludicrous situation persists at a time when there is such heated debate about legitimate foreign direct investment in retail and insurance. 
 

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jitu moni

jitu moni 1 week ago

http://www.moneylife.in/article/qnet-mpi...
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.”

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Pranali Belose

Pranali Belose 2 months ago

We I have been offered to join. Can someone help me in answering this???

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jitu moni

jitu moni 2 months ago

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/...
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

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KK Blr

KK Blr 5 months ago


Dear Team,

Please find latest activities about Qnet in Bangalore.This is MLM company and work on Pyramid marketing. I have encounter these activity recently in Bangalore.I came to know through Internet and Moneylife that there are lots of arrests and cases releated to Qnet in AP and Mumbai as well as in Bangalore.
I learnt that Qnet is MLM company which worked on pyramid scheme which is banned in India i thought i inform to the respective department of "MoneyLife" I appreciate that Moneylife is following Qnet and wanted to stop his operations in public interest.

I request to investigate and cover this news again. Qnet is mushrooming in Bangalore in big way. I have seen lots of people promoting in different coffee shop in Bnaglaore. Thy have full-fledged office where thy seat together in weekend and plan to trap innocent people. thy conduct seminar in Bangalore on monthly basis where delegates comes from other places where thy fool people by convenience innocent people to become millionaire.
Latest interview of Mr Rajvardhan Sinha, Additional commissioner-EOW, Mumbai Police confirmed lots of arrests. So i am writing mails. Please find below link for his interview

https://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCthyAIc_gw
http://www.moneylife.in/article/qnet-eow...

Master Mind of Bangalore operations are Shailendra Madrawarkar, Ram Singh, Sanjeev

Mahrotra and Sunil Ganju. These people are taking care Bnagalore operation and minting crores

of money by fooling innocent people who is having ambition to earn money. These are good mind

washer who know the week point of innocent people and then mind wash them collectively. Every

month they conduct seminar/meeting in Bangalore and convince lots of people.

I urge and request to moneylife to cover this news again focusing Bangalore to alarm lots of people who might get trapped in this web and loose there hard earned money.

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jitu moni

jitu moni 8 months ago

QNET multi-level marketing scam busted in Vijayawada - Tv9

https://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Plsdlh0FBkU

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