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Bogus finance scheme: Investigators yet to get list of duped investors

A year after the Thane district court re-opened the sealed bank accounts of J M Freight Services...

Written by N Ganesh | Published: March 8, 2009 11:18:53 pm

A year after the Thane district court re-opened the sealed bank accounts of J M Freight Services,a finance company that is being investigated by the Thane police,the economic offences wing (EOW) is yet to get the complete list of duped investors.

In March 2008,the then district judge,A C Bachhao (now under suspension),had directed the accused persons,owners of the finance company,to furnish the list of investors along with their postal addresses to the investigating officer. This directive was one of the pre-conditions imposed on the accused — Sachin and Rashmi Vichare,who have been booked under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act (MPID) for allegedly running an unviable finance scheme — by the court in its order to re-open the sealed bank accounts of the accused.

EOW officials,however,say the funds in the account of J M Freight Services at Thane ICICI have been moved out in the meantime. The account,which at the time of sealing had about Rs 5 crore,was re-opened to facilitate the effective functioning of J M Freight Services. By moving out the funds,the scheme has been brought to grinding halt as the post-dated cheques issued to the investors cannot be honoured due to non-availability of funds.

J M Freight Services had allegedly promised hefty returns (more than 100 per cent) on investments and it had claimed to do this by purchasing vehicles and renting them out. Though there was no specific complaint from investors,the Naupada police had booked the Vichare couple under MPID on the basis of ‘information’.

As per the admission of the accused,there were 900-odd investors in the scheme. While 65 investors have so far been refunded by the court,45 have chosen to continue. The fate of the rest of the investors at the time of re-opening of bank account is not known as the accused had not furnished the list of investors. Owing to this,the police could not issue individual notices to the investors,as directed by the court,to ascertain their choice about their investment.

One of the investors,Rajan Khairnar,has now approached the police and the court saying that the accused have not complied with the orders of the court to furnish the list of investors to the investigating officer.

Police sub-inspector Yadav,the investigating officer,said he was not aware of the court orders as the case was then dealt by his predecessor API DN Mohite. When contacted,Mohite recalled that he had orally brought to the notice of the court that the accused have not furnished the list of investors.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (EOW) Sahebrao Patil said: “If the accused have not followed the directives of the court,then such violations will definitely be brought to the notice of the court. We will even look into cancelling the bail of the accused if he is found to be tampering with evidence and witnesses.”

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