In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
Despite the dubious modus operandi it followed, the company has escaped the regulators’ net
Stockguru.India, (SGI) a fraud company operating as a self-styled investment adviser, has allegedly duped its investors of around Rs1,000 crore. According to these investors, the company's managing director is absconding.
In December 2010, Moneylife had reported about the dubious modus operandi of Stockguru.India and advised investors to stay away from investing in the company. (This MLM openly flouts SEBI norms and offers 120% returns in a year through stock market investment!)
Going by the comments posted on consumer complaint forums, as many as 2 lakh investors have been duped of a whopping Rs1,000 crore.
One comment reads: "It's really the height of deception. Lokeshwar Dev made a lot of promises and played with more than 2 lakh families. I (had) also invested hard-earned money and even advised many of my friends … as I found it to be a very lucrative plan. As per Lokeshwar's comment, he has run away to the US and will not return until he would be out of IT department boundaries and (it will) take several years. His web site, contact numbers, top leaders contacts are out of reach, hence there is nobody to help us."
Another comment says, "Stockguru.India was a pre-planned fraud by Lokeshwar Dev Jain. In February, he had to return 100% principal amount taken by his company six months back, so he himself complained to Income-Tax authorities about surplus cash in his office. Only a handful amount of money was seized, as Lokeshwar must have withdrawn the entire amount from the company's account, which is estimated at over Rs1,000 crore, before the raid which he was expecting. He kept making a fool of everyone for the next two months, so he could escape to the US along with his family."
SGI is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that promised 20% returns per month. The company describes itself as the country's 'Premier Financial Consultancy', offering trading solutions in equity, derivatives, currency futures, commodities trading, initial public offerings (IPOs), insurance (life/non-life), general insurance, mutual funds, portfolio management services and terminal handling, all under one roof.
The MLM company's investment plan was very simple. You pay a minimum Rs10,000 as investment and Rs1,000 as registration fees. There is no limit on the maximum amount one can invest. It offers a return of 20% per month for up to six months and the principal amount invested is returned in the next six months. It also gives post-dated cheques of the principal and a promissory note as security. In short, on an investment of Rs11,000, the company offers to pay Rs12,000 in six months and the rest Rs10,000 over the next six months, that is a total of Rs22,000 or a 120% return in a year.
Such huge returns were suspicious, given the volatility in the market, but it did manage to attract a lot of investors.
SGI is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as an investment adviser, but still offers to trade on behalf of clients. It also operated without any trading licence from the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI. So, will the regulators take any action against the officials of the company?
Moneylife had raised this matter earlier, but it seems that the regulators ignored the issue. Hope this time around the regulators, who keep on harping that 'they care of retail investors', will punish the fraudsters and save the investors.
Moneylife Foundation, an affiliate of Moneylife, that is a not-for-profit organisation promoting financial literacy, has always advised people not to invest in MLM companies, which are not registered with SEBI or RBI. However, people continue to fall in the trap since they promise high returns.
Last evening in Pune was historic! It was probably only the third time that the city has witnessed such euphoria after the Samyukta Maharashtra movement and the JP movement all those years ago
The imposing ramparts of Shaniwar Wada were witness to an electrifying moment in history, as more than 15,000 Puneites turned out on Friday evening in support of the campaign led by Anna Hazare against corruption in the country. The candle-light march, which was more than two kilometers long, began from Bal Gandharva and culminated at Shaniwar Wada. Candles in hand, the protestors marched in triumph-the young and the old, the feeble and the physically challenged, all joined in with a missionary zeal. The shouts were predictable: 'Anna Hazare aage bado, hum tumhare saath hain' and 'Hum honge kaamayab ek din'. But the passion was unexpected and quite unbelievable.
The mobilisation from the morning was by word of mouth, and through emails and SMSs. It spread like wild fire. By 6pm there were already more than 5,000 Puneites lined up on Jangli Maharaj Road, opposite Bal Gandharva. With every minute the crowd began to swell, all with the singular determination to eradicate corruption.
It's a long time since Pune witnessed any such euphoria. Mangesh Tendulkar rightly said, "The first time was during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. The second was during the JP movement. This is the third in support of Anna Hazare's fast.''
Through the day, streams of people visited the pandal outside the Pune Municipal Corporation, where we undertook a day-long fast. Teenagers and youngsters joined in a 'skip a meal' campaign that required citizens not to eat any one meal of the day, whether it is breakfast, tea, lunch or dinner.
Youngsters made passionate speeches about how they were fed up with the corruption in everyday life that was even affecting their education. They talked about joining the fight because they wanted to have a better life in the country and not run away because of the daily inconveniences.
Representatives from IT companies told us that at least 500 techies had joined in the candle march. Around 85 NGOs pledged their support to the cause. And passersby stopped to inquire and lend their support too.
All described the common agony: Corruption that has reached mind-boggling levels and how high-profile politicians and bureaucrats who were guilty of this were getting away easily. They were angry and did not know how to express their anger-till now, that is. The untainted figure of Anna Hazare on a hunger protest at Jantar Mantar helped draw them together, like iron filings to a magnet.
It's the biggest victory of a people's movement since Independence. The nation has indeed arrived! Corrupt politicians are realising that they will not be able to take people for granted! It has been a triumph of the people's collective resolution and sacrifice. It's the beginning of the end of the corrupt scoundrels who rolled in wealth and luxury with the people's money!
Thank you for your support.
Getting Baba Ramdev in on Day 4 was brilliant, and timed with the statements by the Bajajs and Munjals added value which nobody could have predicted. The government totally miscalculated the rapid growth of the protests, not just in Delhi, but in the rest of the country. It could impact the forthcoming elections in various states, too
I was among a group of the Defence Colony Welfare Association Residents' Welfare Association-a mixed group of retired services personnel, professionals, home-makers and business-people-who joined in the protest against corruption, spearheaded by Anna Hazare, at Jantar Mantar, on Friday. The atmosphere there was vastly changed from what it was the previous day; not just because of the support from Baba Ramdev and Bollywood personalities like Farah Khan, Tom Alter and some others, in as much as there was a feeling that the government is on the back foot.
(Click here to see Kareena Kapoor and Mallika Sarabhai pledging support to Anna Hazare Courtesy: ANI, Sify.com)
If anything, the contingent of plain-clothes people, probably from an assortment of intelligence services, appeared even more worried, probably for having miscalculated the ground realities, as well as the strategic moves by the organizers. Getting Baba Ramdev in on Day 4 was brilliant, and timed co-terminus with the statements by the Bajajs and Munjals added value which nobody could have predicted. One particular gent, with whom I have developed a nodding acquaintanceship over the last few days, told me that they had totally miscalculated the rapid growth of the protests, not just in Delhi, but in the rest of the country. How it was likely to impact the forthcoming elections, too, in various states. And, how now not just the foreign press, but also diplomats were walking around openly.
The uniformed police and fire service personnel, on the other hand, looked even more relaxed and part of the milling crowds-it almost looked as though everybody had already figured out that these are our people, about each other. People were following instructions given by the local police and fire service and their ambulance services were parked strategically. Even the much-reviled Municipal Corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Corporation did their part-the mobile public toilets are an example in cleanliness, with some sanitation workers on duty explaining that this was one duty they were going to make sure was impeccable. And for the first time we saw what looked like off-duty armed forces people in fatigues walking around, without any of that uniformed self-consciousness that sometimes accompanies such events.
This has on one side grown into a nation-wide people's movement, that's not so much about a Lokpal Bill which people do not understand, or a man variously being referred to as hazaar, hazaara, hazaroo, hazra or something similar, but more about people now wanting an end to corruption across all levels. On the other side, the rumour mills were working overtime, with all sorts of stories about such and such leader having run away abroad, or the government planning stern reprisal, and then what happens next. Some were even asking why Shobhaa De, for example, has not been seen of or heard from lately!
A couple of major questions on the minds of protestors were 'how do we go about courting arrest' and 'what other methods will we use to make sure this is a success too'. Some volunteers on the fourth day of their fast were taken away to hospital; others appeared as resolute as before. The percentage of women in the crowd seemed to have gone up, and so too the visible number of wealthier and upper middle-class people. Also, people appeared to have reacted with disappointment to the statement by Mohandas Pai of Infosys that he did not want to say anything about corruption in India. Bajaj and Munjal, on the other hand, were cheered through some hand-written posters.
It is encouraging to see the number of people present going up multiples, this despite the cricket frenzy that has not ebbed. The whole of Jantar Mantar, from the Ashoka Road end to Tolstoy Marg end, is barricaded and converted into a walking-only zone. This is a stretch of 1.5 km, a change from the 50 metres space that was initially alloted on one side of Jantar Mantar Road. The special space I had on top of the South Indian Snack Centre is now totally occupied by many others who have discovered the place. Barring the few people sitting in front, at Jantar Mantar, the rest of the area is "standing room only".
My advice to those who want to go to Jantar Mantar is to head there early in the morning. Make your presence felt. Get counted, now. Where the movement will eventually lead may not be entirely clear yet, but it cannot get any worse than what the government has already brought matters to-now, things can only improve.