Nine including Goa policeman held for running Ponzi scheme

The Navi Mumbai Crime Branch has recently arrested nine people, including a Goa policeman, for allegedly running a Ponzi investment scheme in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.

The nine were picked up from an investment seminar organised at a five-star hotel on November 15. The accused have been identified as Anand Tole, Pradip Maurya, Bhupendra Morada, Vinayak More, Raviprakash Gherade, Anand Sapkal, Anil Bhoir, and Milkeram Prajapati, all from Thane district, and Goa traffic constable Satish Maji. The nine were the core committee members of Smart Vision Products India Pvt. Ltd. which had an office in Bhandup. The company’s CMD Salil Gauss and directors Pratiksha Mote and Rashmi Hiranandani are still at large.

According to the police, the accused had started the company around three years ago and took several seminars promising people huge returns in lesser time. “The accused told people that if they invested ₹13,000, the company would take ₹3,000 while the remaining amount would be used in a multi-level marketing programme. Hence, with an investment of ₹13,000, one could get ₹1 lakh in return within one-and-a-half months using the investor’s referrals. During the lockdown, the company shut its business and there was no sign of the accused,” Amar Desai, senior police inspector, Crime Branch Unit I, said.

One Rajaram Gholap (58) from Sanpada registered a police complaint on November 15 after he got to know that the same accused had started a new firm named Richhood Club and were to conduct a seminar at a five-star hotel.

A team from the APMC police station along with senior police inspector Nivrutti Kolhatkar from the central unit of the Crime Branch and Mr. Desai raided the hotel and nabbed the accused.

“Till now, around six people have come forward, who had in all invested ₹23 lakh with the accused’s company. We would want all those who had invested to give their statements,” Pravin Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, said.

All the accused were arrested under Sections of the Prize Chits Fund and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, the Maharashtra Protection of Investors Deposit Act, and the Indian Penal Code, and have been remanded in police custody till November 21.

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