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The EOW had arrested Susan Chatterjee, former daughter-in-law of Michael Ferreira in the Rs425 crore QNet scam. While Ferreira owns 80% stake in QNet's official franchisee in India, his son, wife and close relatives are also reportedly under the scanner
With the arrest of Susan Nikhil Chatterjee, former wife of Mark Ferreira, the focus of the investigators is now back again on the family of former world billion champion Michael Ferreira. The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police last week arrested Susan in the Rs425 crore QNet scam.
While confirming the arrest, Additional Commissioner of Police (EOW) Rajvardhan Sinha told the Indian Express that, “We have arrested Susan Chatterjee in connection with the QNet case. She is Ferreira’s former daughter-in-law. We have found around Rs1.70 crore in her bank account, which were earned by QNet through its binary scheme.”
The former world billions champion has been under the EOW scanner following the exposure of the QNet multilevel marketing (MLM) scam. He owns 80% stake in Vihaan Direct Selling that handles QNet's MLM operations in India since 14 April 2012. According to unconfirmed reports, Mark Ferreira is allegedly absconding and may be staying in Hong Kong to evade arrest by EOW in the QNet scam. According to EOW investigations, Michael Ferreira's wife is also an active IR of QNet.
Calling the arrest of Susan as an act of 'high-handedness' from the EOW, a spokesperson from QNet, in a statement said, "It is quite surprising and wholly disappointing that the EOW has seen to protract and take further inappropriate action against Vihaan and its Independent Representatives (IRs)/ distributors yet again. In the latest instance, another act of high-handedness has taken place in the purported guise of 'investigations' where a lady named Susan Nikhil Chatterjee has been taken into 'custody'. It is shocking where levels are reached such that family members of distributors are harassed without any specific reason or any allegation."
Last month, the EOW, while making a sensational disclosure has told the Sessions Court that a document submitted by the seven QNet leaders in their anticipatory bail application was bogus and concocted.
According to EOW, the team leaders of QNet, including former world billiards champion Michael Ferriera, Srinavas Rao Vanka, Magarlal Viravali Balaji, Malcolm Nozer Desai, Navjyot Mahesh Das, Chinar Surendra Shinde and Mereilla Kamal Dutta have misled the Court by submitting a fake document while seeking bail. This is in connection with various charges made by the intrepid whistleblower Gurpreet Singh.
The EOW of Mumbai Police, which is probing the MLM fraud, had so far arrested 10 team leaders of QNet for allegedly duping investors by offering to sell products such as magnetic disks, herbal products and holiday schemes through fraudulent practices. The accused have been charged with cheating and forgery under relevant sections of the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978.
Another interesting aspect in the whole episode is all top officials (?) of QNet India do not want to reveal their identity and remain hidden. We repeatedly sent emails to the company's official PR agency and also some officials from its parent QI group. Till date, neither the MLM company nor its PR agency is ready to reveal identity of its top management or leaders.
According to SFIO, the Saradha group companies will face prosecution for violation of several laws
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which completed its probe into the Saradha ‘chit fund scam’, said that its 14 group companies have been found to be running ‘ponzi schemes’ and would face prosecution for violation of several laws.
The investigation concluded that the group was using collections from new investors to make payments to the previously-enrolled members, rather than from income generated through investments, in typical resemblance to a ponzi scheme.
Among others, the activities of these companies were found to be in serious violations of the Companies Act, the SEBI Act, and several provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) said in a statement on completion of the SFIO probe.
The Ministry said those companies which have been found to have violated the SEBI regulations for ‘collective investment schemes’ would be prosecuted for violation of SEBI Act, instead of the Companies Act, as the former carried longer terms of imprisonment.
Besides, prosecution would also be initiated by the state governments for violations of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act, while the probe report and necessary evidence would be shared with CBI to avoid duplication in prosecutions.
The scam, in which lakhs of investors in West Bengal and neighbouring states were defrauded of thousands of crores through illegal money pooling activities, came to light early last year and has also had its political ramifications.
The case has also become a political hot potato with the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government facing flak from various quarters.
“The companies, their promoters, directors and managerial personnel have been found guilty on many counts of various provisions of the Companies Act... dealing with illegal collection of deposits and false statements," it said.