Mumbai : A court here on Friday sent former world billiards champion and Padma Bhushan recipient Michael Ferreira in the custody of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police till October 13 in connection with a case of Rs 400-crore fraud involving the multi-level-marketing company QNet.
“Ferreira surrendered before the court which sent him in EOW custody till October 13,” special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said. The Supreme Court had denied him pre-arrest bail earlier.
Gharat told the court that Ferreira held 80 per cent shares in a franchisee of Hong Kong-based QNet.
QNet ran a ‘Ponzi scheme’, seeking investments between Rs 30,000 to Rs 7.5 lakh, the prosecutor said, adding that the investors never got the high returns they were promised.
The money earned by QNet was “laundered” and diverted out of the country, Gharat told the court, adding that Ferreira’s interrogation was necessary to find its “destination”.
Co-accused Srinivas Rao Vanka and Magaral Veervalli Balaji, both directors of Vihaan Direct Selling Pvt Ltd, and Malcolm Nozer Desai too surrendered today and were remanded in EOW custody till October 13. The court also issued a non-bailable warrant against Suresh Thimiri, director of Transview Enterprises. EOW has so far arrested 19 persons in the case.
QNet and its franchisee firms allegedly sold products such as magnetic disks with `healing’ properties, herbal medicines and holiday schemes. QNet is accused of using the banned `binary pyramid’ model in its marketing schemes, apart from duping the investors.
The FIR was registered here in August 2013 under the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 and Maharashtra Protection Of Interest Of Depositors Act.