A Bengaluru investment firm, with high-profile clientele including former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid and badminton player Saina Nehwal, has been accused of defrauding over 800 investors to the tune of over Rs 300 crore, police said.
The multi-crore fraud by Vikram Investments promoter Raghavendra Srinath and four others came to light on March 3 when an investor P R Balaji, 48, owner of an incense-stick manufacturing company, filed a complaint at the Banashankarri police station accusing the firm of cheating him of Rs 11.74 crore in form of investments made in the firm.
The police have so far arrested four agents of the firm, who were produced in a magistrate’s court on Wednesday at the end of 10-day police custody. The police told the court that the accused had diverted funds to foreign countries and it needed more time to trace the money trail and recover them. Theyhave sought custody for four more days.
According to the police, over a dozen other investors have come forward and filed similar complaints against the private investment firm at several police stations in south Bengaluru. The complainants say the investment firm lured high-net worth investors with offers of 40 to 50 per cent annual returns on their principal amounts, they said.
Advocates for the accused agents told the court that their clients worked purely on commission basis and that the misappropriation was carried out by Srinath.
According to sources, sports personalities like Rahul Dravid and Saina Nehwal, had also parked their money in the ponzi firm through former sports journalist Sutram Suresh, who has been named in the case. The sportspersons, however, have not lodged any complaints of cheating against the firm so far, police sources said, adding that they were however contemplating to withdraw their investments following complaints against the firm.