The Gujarat CID (crime) on Thursday took over the investigation into the alleged Ponzi scheme floated by city-based businessman Vinay Shah and his associates, and raided two of his residential premises and an office here. The officials said that they have collected documents, laptops and other gadgets to get information about the case.
The CID was asked to take over the case from the local Vastrapur police on Wednesday and set up a Special Investigation Team to probe it. On Thursday morning, a team of CID officials reached Vastrapur police station and took over the case papers. They said that three FIRs have been lodged till now by the victims with the police station.
Police said that Shah had allegedly floated several schemes in which he used to make his investors member by paying an annual amount.
The members were given login IDs and were asked to watch advertisements onlines. E-wallets were also created which are said to have been linked with their bank accounts. They were promised that by the end of the term, in months and a year, their money would be doubled.
According to police, the Shah’s company “ArcherCare Digiad LLP” had promised to pay “unrealistic amounts” for watching advertisements.
The packages started from Rs 4,500 to Rs 25,000 and more and customers were promised that they would be earning from Rs 160 per day by clicking 10 links of the advertisements only. The higher registration fee had higher number links of advertisements like 15 or 20 per day.
The company’s advertisements mentions, “We focus on helping organisations elevate their brand visibility and reach thousands of potential customers by displaying their ad online.” Another one reads, “VIEWERS Earn up to $100 by just viewing ads.”
Officials said that just like any other Ponzi scam, members were lured to bring more people as referral would give them bonus. It is estimated that the scam runs into Rs 260 crore and thousands of people have been cheated.
The case got highlighted after a 11-page note, said to have been left behind by Vinay Shah, has named an IPS officer J K Bhatt and two journalists – Uday Ranjan and Narendrasinh Jadav – having received money from Shah. Bhatt and the two journalists have denied the charges and have filed defamation cases against Shah.
CID officials said that hours after they took over the case, at least five more people came to them to lodge their complaints alleging they were duped by Shah.