Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cops bust another get-rich-quick scheme

MUMBAI: Undeterred by police action against several money-multiplying schemes floated by fly-by-night operators, such companies continue to flourish. The latest is the Andheri-based Car Run Way of India which vanished after collecting more than Rs 5 crore from the public by offering 25% to 40% interest on their investment .

In the past, Sanchayani, Sanjivani, Unique Finance and Sigma Autolink, which floated similar schemes had closed their offices, leaving investors in the lurch. In one of the highprofile cases involving City Limouzine, the Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal by the state government against the Bombay high court's decision to quash the FIR registered by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police.

Mritunjaya Pande of Car Run Way opened an office at Crystal Plaza, Andheri, in December 2006 and got the firm registered. He opened offices in Bhandup, Vashi and Nashik. The directors of the company included Mritunjaya's brother Rakesh, father Premnarayan and Devang Zaveri.

The company issued newspaper advertisements offering investors 40% more than the investment on maturity or vehicles . For instance, on a deposit of Rs 5 lakh for six months, the company offered Rs 1.25 lakh per month. On a down payment of Rs 8.1 lakh, the company offered Rs 40,500 every month for five years beside a Skoda vehicle at the end of the maturity period.

"The amounts received as down payment or fixed deposits were used to repay the existing investors. In the initial stage, the company did not default, thus attracting investors . In the banking industry, it is not possible to sustain the payments and the promoters close down the offices and vanish ,'' a police officer said.

In April, cheques issued by the company bounced and a month later, they closed down their offices and vanished.

The police subsequently arrested three persons, Nitin, Devang and Nitin Ahire and recovered five vehicles totally valued at Rs 37.75 lakh. The police also froze Rs 72,000 lying in various accounts.

City Limouzine has argued in the SC that a dispute between investor and company is governed by the Companies Act and cannot be investigated by the police. It also said families of police personnel have invested in such schemes offering high interest. City Limouzine, promoted by Sayed Masood, had offered investors a return of 48% on their investments and said it would be invested in buying Maruti cars, which were to be registered in the name of investors. In September 2007, the EOW registered a case of cheating. In March, a division bench comprising Bilal Nazki and S A Bobde quashed the FIR, saying there has been no intention to defraud at the time of inception of execution of the agreement.
C Unnikrishnan, TNN Sep 5, 2008, 06.24am IST

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