New Delhi: A married couple has been arrested in Maharashtra in connection with what is believed to be one of the biggest frauds in the country after they cheated over two lakh people of a total of Rs.493 crore through an oraganised racket across India, police said here Monday.
Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire, 33, and his wife Raksha J. Urs, 30, were arrested in Ratnagiri last week.
"They duped the people, posing under the fake names as Lokeshwar Dev and Priyanka Saraswat Dev, on pretext of investment in their company `Stock Guru India` situated at (west) Delhi`s Rama Road on the promise of lucrative returns and against promissory notes provided by the accused and others," Joint Commissioner of Police-Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Sandeep Goel said.
Investigation of these cases revealed that there were about 2,05,062 investors who had invested Rs.10,000 each or more totalling an investment of about Rs.493 crore in the `Stock Guru India` company.
The couple was also involved in several other cases of cheating, forgery and fraud registered in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Maharashtra, Goel said.
Following two cases related to `Stock Guru` registered in June 2011 on the complaint of two Haryana-based people, the case was transferred to EOW here and the accused were arrested more than a year after the incident.
The victims were induced to invest money in the company `Stock Guru India`.
"The accused had guaranteed to provide a 20 per cent return per month up to six months on the principal amount followed by a subsequent refund of the principal amount in the seventh month, through prudent and source based investments in the share market," said the officer.
However, instead of returning the investments as promised, the accused suddenly shut down their office and decamped with all the collected funds.
"Their scheme to induce public at large was quite elaborate with conferences and distribution of very attractive brochures in five-star hotels all over India. They also had multiple agents across the country who mobilised funds on their behalf," said the officer.
Till date, as many as 14,303 complaints have been received in this matter in EOW, Delhi.
Investigations revealed a total of 94 bank accounts spread over 20-odd banks. These bank accounts were opened and operated by the couples in the names of at least 13 different names and entities in Delhi and outside Delhi.
"Around 12 properties including eight flats in Dwaraka, one flat each in Bhiwadi, Alwar and Moradabad and one villa in Goa owned by the accused has come to light," the official said.
Khaire, a resident of Nagpur in Maharashtra, left studies after Class 11 and started a construction business. A case of cheating was registered against him in Nagpur after that he left Nagpur in 2004.
In 2005 he came to Bangalore, where he married Mysore girl Raksha Urs, and started working in a finance company.
"Till 2009 they they had only made sporadic forays into crime. In 2009, they first entered into an organised racket. They moved to Dehradun and opened an institute of psychotherapy and counselling. After collecting vast money they moved to Delhi in December 2009 under the names of Lokeshwar Dev and Priyanka Dev," said the officer.
"They are now on police remand. Efforts are on to trace the other co-accused people and carry out more recoveries in the said cases," said the officer.