Rs 425-cr QNet scam: Michael Ferreira denies fraud charge
Mumbai: Former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira, who was summoned by Mumbai Police in connection with the Rs 425-crore scam allegedly committed by multi-level marketing firm QNet, on Monday trashed the allegations against him of defrauding people.
Ferreira, who has gone abroad some time back, said he would appear before the investigators as soon as he returns to India. He even defended the controversial company.
The Padma Bhushan awardee said "three to four days ago, the summons were received at my home (in Mumbai) in my absence. I am abroad now. The summons were handled by my lawyer and I understand he is co-operating fully."
Responding a query, he said "of course, I shall make myself available (before the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai police). I have the highest regard and respect for the police. As soon as I am cleared to travel, I will appear before the EOW. I am undergoing a lot of stress at the moment."
The winner of the World Amateur Billiards Championship described as "outrageous, malicious and untruthful" the allegations against him of defrauding people through QNet.
"The company has a book of goods and service which offers to customers. Then where is the question of anyone defrauding anyone, leave alone me? How I defrauded anyone. Customers, who are interested in the products, they can buy. If not, then no need to buy. I have not approached anyone and forced anyone."
Explaining his association with QNet, Ferreira said "a good friend of mine from Hong Kong told me about the online company (which) wanted to open a franchise complying with local laws in India for the purpose of goods and service (it offers).
"They asked me to be a shareholder and I said yes. I saw it as a great business opportunity. I have no operational responsibility for setting up the company and I am just a shareholder."
He sought to know how the company defrauded anybody. "How they (the company) defrauded anyone? Where is the question of defrauding, I just cannot understand this. Please appreciate the fact that this is like any other company that has products at its disposal which it offers to customers. And if the customer chose to buy, then where is the question of defrauding?"
The police summoned Ferreira last week and wants to question him about his association with the scam-hit company and his role.
The EOW arrested nine team leaders of the QNet for allegedly duping investors by selling products like magnetic disks, herbal products and holiday schemes through fraudulent practices. QNet has also been accused of using the banned binary-pyramid business model for their multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes to entice investors.
The accused have been charged with cheating and forgery under relevant sections of the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.