Mumbai: The city economic offences wing (EOW), probing the Rs 2,000 crore investment fraud, has issued look out circular (LOC) notices for three accused involved in the case wherein over two million people have been cheated. The police have also identified properties estimated to be valued at Rs 500 crore belonging to the accused.
The EOW last week raided 30 premises across the counry belonging to Sai Prasad Properties Ltd. and Sai Prasad Foods Limited and seized incriminating documents, 45 hard discs and over two million investors’ records. The police arrested Balasaheb Bhapkar (56), chairman and managing director of the two groups.
Ankit Bhansali, assistant manager, Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI), has lodged a complaint at the Bandra Kurla Complex police station alleging that Bhapkar’s firms had collected investments/deposits without SEBI’s permission and that it needed a thorough probe. Bhapkar duped investors promising around 18 per cent per annum returns on their investment in agriculture, food and real estate sectors. The EOW is busy probing the role of nine other subsidiary companies in different sectors like petroleum, media, construction and energy.
“It is a lengthy investigation and we have arrested the prime accused. We are working hard to make a watertight case against the culprits,” said Dhananjay Kamalakar, joint commissioner of police, EOW. The accused have been booked under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act and the Prize Chits and Money Circulation (Banning) Act. “We have issued LOC against three accused who know many things about the fraud. They are on the run and hence we cannot discose their identity,” said an officer.
A person against whom the LOC is issued, is detained at any airport in India when he is departing/arriving at the airport. The immigiration authorities who detain such persons, inform the concerned police. Around 192 bank accounts have been identified and police said they are writing to banks asking them to freeze transactions in the accounts.
The raids were carried out at Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal, New Delhi, Jhansi, Pune, Andheri (Mumbai) etc among the other places. Bhapkar, father of two, has been running the ponzi scheme since 2001. The scam never came to light. His wife, Vaishali, is currently in the custody of Chhatisgarh police in connection with a similar case filed against her.