The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to investigate the fake followers case in the influencers marketing industry continues to dig deep into the racket. After questioning many celebrities, the SIT on Wednesday recorded the statement of Sagar Gokhale co-founder of Qyuki Digital Media Private Limited, a reputed digital marketing company. According to the crime branch officer, after Gokhale denied of having knowledge of fan followings of their clients, the crime branch has now called his manager and another person from the accounts department to register their statements.
Recently the crime branch has recorded statements of popular rapper Badshah (Aditya Sisodia) in connection with the case. The crime branch alleged that the singer had paid Rs 72 lakh to set a world record for getting the most views within 24 hours on YouTube for his song "Pagal hai". The allegation was reportedly denied by the singer.
The crime branch has so far recorded statements of many celebrities including that of actress Koena Mitra.
The scam came to light in the second week of July after singer Bhumi Trivedi complained to the Mumbai police about her fake profile on a social media platform. During the probe the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai crime branch then arrested 20-year-old youth Abhishek Daude for allegedly creating her fake profile.
The investigation revealed that, Daude who worked for a France based web portal named www.followerskart.com, which provided fake followers, likes and comments. According to a crime branch officer, he allegedly created over 5 lakh followers for 176 accounts.
Last week the SIT had arrested Kashif Mansoor, 29 for allegedly selling fake followers. According to Mumbai Police, Mansoor, a civil engineer, has completed 25,000 orders till date and has sold 2.3 crore fake followers.
The crime branch estimated that about 100 companies are involved in Social Media Marketing and around 60 of them have been identified by the SIT.