MUMBAI: Former director of fraud firm Aryarup Travel and Club Resort surrendered before the Pune police last week. Vasuda Deshmukh, who is wanted in the multi-crore investment scam, will be brought to the city this week.
Nandkishore Patil from Nigadi police station in Pune said, "We have arrested Vasuda for a year-old fraud case. She is being questioned."
The city economic offences wing (EOW) had registered an FIR against Vasuda and her husband Ravindra in 2010. The Deshmukhs floated several schemes in Gujarat, Haryana, Jaipur, Bangalore and Maharashtra. Investors were promised annual returns of 86% to 96% if they put in Rs 5,000 and more in the schemes. Investors who brought in others were entitled to additional returns. The company had opened accounts of its investors on its website. "The suspects allotted login names and passwords to the investors and told them that their profit would be automatically transferred to their accounts. The Mumbai police are investigating the case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978," said a police officer.
The EOW had recently issued lookout notices against Vasuda and Ravindra. Sources said the firm's turnover was in excess of Rs 1,000 crore per annum. Aryarup claimed on various websites that it distributed over Rs 900 crore to its investors in one year. The firm also said that 400 of its investors had earned over Rs one crore.
Two plots, totaling 75 acres, owned by the company directors were attached by the EOW in February this year.
The total value of these plots is around Rs 12.30 crore, said sources. Besides, 17 bank accounts in which investors had deposited Rs 12.5 crore have also been frozen.
The firm had branches in Haryana, Gujarat and other states. In Maharashtra, the firm set up its offices in Buldhana Nashik, Nanded, Solapur, Parbhani, Jaipur, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, Jalgaon, Bhusawal, Pune and Latur, among others. Sources said Aryarup could have more than one lakh investors
Daniel Pranjal, chief of direct selling consultancy firm Strategy India, said, "Several individuals start such companies promising high returns with the knowledge that they would have to keep getting money from new investors to pay off the old ones."
Pranjal said there are over 300 such companies operating in India and the schemes would have mobilized over Rs 7,000 crore till date.
Directors of Aryarup Travel & Club Resort—Ravindra Deshmukh and his wife Vasuda—are accused of duping over 1,000 people by offering to double their investments.
Mateen Hafeez, TNN Aug 29, 2011, 03.27am IST