Noida police arrested four persons for allegedly duping 32 people to the tune of Rs 8 crore under the pretext of offering franchises.
Eight FIRs have been registered against Ankur, Sunil Mistry, Ravindra Kumar and Sunil Kumar in the last four-five days. Police have recovered credit cards, cheque books, PAN cards and vehicles, including a Mercedes, form the accused.
“For the past few days, we have been receiving several complaints about some people offering fake franchises. As per the FIRs, a company had taken money from people and was offering to open a franchise in their name and build a business model. Once the people invested the money, they shut the company and disappeared. The complainants are from different parts of the country, and we found during investigation that there were other fake companies like this. We will be arresting more accused to unearth the full scam,” said Ankur Agarwal, ADCP Noida.
The accused were arrested from Meerut on Friday following electronic surveillance, police said. Hailing from Ghaziabad, they had been running fake companies based in Noida. According to police, the victims hailed from Nagpur, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, among other states, and were contacted by the accused online.
The accused would take Rs 15-20 lakh from each victim and offer them the franchise of a company in return.
“A lot of online advertisements on Google and YouTube were also carried out by the accused to create a virtual environment of genuineness,” said Agarwal.
So far, police have investigated details of five companies and said there could be more than 100 such firms. The accused rented private spaces at Sector 63 to build fronts for fake offices if the victim wished to visit them. Police have found cheque books that belonged to 90 different fake bank accounts. They estimated the cost of recovered assets to be Rs 8-10 crore, said an officer.
Police have also recovered 3.3 kg gold, Rs 13.5 lakh in cash, an E-Class Mercedes, a Honda City, a Creta, a Maruti Dzire, 63 laptops, and 27 mobile phones. The accused also had 117 ATM cards, 96 cheque books, 69 PAN Cards, 9 Aadhaar Cards and 19 voter IDs.