Satara ‘Bhishi’ operator to surrender in a week

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked of Maruti Anna Pawar to surrender at the Waduj police station in Satara district within one week in a 2016 case filed for not returning the money collected by him from various people under a “Bhishi” scheme for multiplying money.

His counsel offered that he would surrender to police after sensing that the Court may reject his appeal for the anticipatory bail. He sought a minimum period of police custody and the Court agreed that he can apply for bail after one week of surrender as that will be sufficient time for his custodial interrogation.

The Bench of Justices Ms Indu Malhotra and Sanjiv Khanna said Pawar may seek regular bail from the trial court after one week of surrender and it will be considered in accordance with law. He had come in appeal after the Bombay High Court on July 22 dismissed his anticipatory bail.

An FIR was registered against him in December 2016 by Millind Deshmukh under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act and Maharashtra Money Lending Regulation Act for not returning the money he had taken under an investment scheme. Pawar’s scheme envisaged that one can invest in multiples of Rs 5,000 to get Rs 19,000 for each unit of Rs 5,000.

On learning about a raid on the scheme in 2016, Deshmukh went to Pawar to ask for his money but the latter refused. In his FIR, Deshmukh said he learnt that Pawar had duped around 1200 investors who had invested more than Rs 84 lakhs in his scheme.

Pawar used the money to give illegal loans at exorbitant rate of interest and pay the investors from the profits so earned, but the scheme failed and the investors lost their money.

Though the FIR was lodged in 2016, Pawar was never arrested, nor was he available for investigation for very long time, while other accused in his team were arrested, charge-sheted and some of them were already on bail.

The charge-sheet says the accused persons had collected around R 1.36 crore that was used to give loan at exorbitant rate of 20-30% per annum interest and buy property for themselves from the profit, cheating the investors.

In the High Court, Pawar offered to deposit Rs 13 lakh, claiming that he has not committed any offence and his custodial interrogation is not necessary as his property is already attached.

The High Court, however, refused him the anticipatory bail, noting that the allegations against him were grave and serious as he had deprived many of their money invested in the illegal scheme not sanctioned by any law.

It had held that his custodial interrogation necessary to find out the money trail and the exact nature of the scheme continued by Pawar and his accomplices over a long period.

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