Thane: After the Economic Offence Wing of the Thane crime branch arrested the 76-year-old man, the owner of VGN jeweler for running a Ponzi scheme racket, around 137 investors have approached the EOW police taking up further the total to more than Rs 10 crore. The police said lockdown and pandemic had resulted in breaking the chain of the jewelers, who had no new investors to rotate the cash flow.
According to the Thane crime branch, the arrested accused was identified as Virithgopalan Nair (76), who was arrested on October 5. “He was in police custody till October 9. After producing in court on Saturday, the court ordered him jail custody,” said Sunil Lokhande, deputy commissioner of police, EOW, Thane police.
The police said that the owner, Virithgopalan Nair of VGN jewelers, and his wife Valsala had started a finance firm in Kalyan. Meanwhile, they also had their jewelry stores in Dombivli, Ulhasnagar, and Mulund and a finance firm in Kalyan. The owner of VGN jeweler had cheated many investors in the period from 2006 to 2021.
“Nair used to lure investors by asking them to invest Rs 500 per month. If a person pays Rs 500 for 24 months, Nair used to return the Rs 14,000 or gold ornaments. Similarly, in another scheme, he used to ask investors to go for a fixed deposit for five years. For the fixed deposit, he used to give a return of 15 percent, which was more than the bank,” said a police officer from the EOW.
The police said, till the pandemic he was able to give the return on time, as the flow of the new investors was good. “With cheating of gold jewelers from Kalyan and the pandemic had affected the new investors. It resulted in the loss to Nair, as he used to take cash from the new investor and give its interest to the old investors. However, the cycle breaks down resulting in not paying the old investors. Who then approached the police to register a case. A case was registered at the Kolshewadi police station in Kalyan for cheating 13 investors to a tune of Rs 7.99 crore. The police have registered a case under a section of the Indian penal code and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors (MPID) Act."
The case was further transferred to the Economic offense wing of the Thane crime branch who arrested the accused and are yet to arrest his wife.
“After Nair was arrested, the investors started approaching us with their complaints. We took statements from around 137 investors who had been cheated with the Ponzi scheme making a total of Rs 10 crore and above for the cheating,” said Prashant Sawant, police inspector, EOW.
The police said the figure of investors may go above 150 in the coming days, as many people are cheating across Mumbai and suburbs. Also, after the news of his arrest started spreading across the city people started approaching the EOW office.
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