The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police have arrested two members of one of the most affluent families of the Sindhi community in the city, for cheating 166 people to the tune of Rs 30 crore.
The accused had taken money from people in the name of investing it in their business and promised 15% interest, but after two years they failed to return the money to investors.
Abhishekh Satish Agicha 30, and his cousin Gautam Prakash Agicha 31, were arrested on Friday by the MPID unit officials.
The two are proprietors of Greenwood and Woodtech firms with offices in Victoria Road, Mustafa Bazar and Mazagaon. The family owns a plush eight storey bungalow off Carter Road in Khar (West).
The complainant in the case Kamal Bhatia, a textile trading businessman from Khar, stated in the FIR (HT has a copy) that in February 2015, he through a friend got to know that two nephews (Abhishekh and Gautam) of Manohar Agicha, who is well known and highly reputed in the Sindhi community, were expanding their business in Plywood and Timber through firms namely Woodtech and Greenwood. Abhishekh and Gautam were accepting money from people to invest in business and returning investors monthly 1.25% interest.
Since Bhatia was known to Manohar Agicha, he contacted him and verified about Abhishekh and Gautam accepting money from people for business.
“Manohar Agicha confirmed everything and also told me that the family is starting a factory abroad and the business will generate good profit and the people from the community will also be benefited,” Bhatia alleged in the complaint.
Trusting the family, Bhatia invested Rs 2.30 crore in 2015 in both the firms Greenwood and Woodtech. Till June 2017, he regularly received monthly interest, but after that it stopped. Bhatia followed up about the matter with the Agichas, but in vain. During this course Bhatia also learnt that like him hundreds of others had also invested money in the family’s business. Among investors there were senior citizens, women and poor people as well who invested Rs 5 lakh, the police said.
“The accused diverted investors’ money to their other firms Kings Lumber Pvt Ltd, Starwood LLP, Market Ace LLP, Superbuilt project LLP and Sparlin Global,” alleged Bhatia in his statement.
“The victim investors came together, formed a group, held meetings with the Agichas, demanded their money be returned, but just got hollow promises. Finally, after running from pillar to post for months, we lodged a complaint against Gautam, Abhishekh, Greenwood and Woodtech,” said another investor who lost Rs 95 lakhs to the alleged fraud.
“We are trying to find out where exactly the investors’ money was diverted,” said an EOW officer.
Abhishekh and Gautam have been charged under Sections 406, 409, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal code and 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors Act and 4 and 5 of Prize Chota and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act.
Aug 23, 2019 16:56 IST