The Bombay High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of World Billiards champion Michael Ferreira and four others who are facing charges of money laundering in the multi-crore QNet case.
Their plea for liberty was rejected on May 6 by Justice Mridula Bhatkar who took on record the statement of public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat that investigations were still on.
Gharat opposed their plea on the ground that they had allegedly committed economic offences against the nation and indulged in money laundering running into crores of rupees by sending money out of India.
Ferreira had started operations of QNet, a multi-level marketing company, in India via his firm, Vihaan Enteprises. The QNet cheating case began with a complaint filed Gurpreet Singh Anand, who raised his voice after losing Rs 30,000.
According to police, the money involved has crossed Rs 1,000 crore in the alleged scam with more than 5 lakh investors allegedly losing thier money in the case against QNet which is being probed by Economic Offences Wing.
A sessions court had earlier rejected their anticipatory bail plea. Later, they moved the Bombay high court which also rejected their plea two days back.
Besides Ferreira, others whose anticipatory bail plea were rejected were Malcom Desai, Vanka Srinivas, Maganlal Balaji, all directors of M/s Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd, and Suresh Themiri, director of Transview Enterprises.
They are facing charges under IPC sections 420 (mischief), 468 (forgery), 471 (using forged document knowing it is not genuine).
They are also charged with section 3 of MPID (Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Act) which deals with fraudulent default by a financial establishment.
The EOW had registered a case against the directors and officials of M/s Vihaan, QNet, Transview and Vanmala Hotels and Tourism Services in 2013.
Police had issued notice to Ferreira in 2013 that read, “It appears that you (Ferreira) are acquainted with facts and circumstances of the case”.
Later, court had asked Ferreira to appear before EOW and give his statement.
According to police, probe revealed that Ferreira was allegedly a stakeholder of M/s Vihaan. EOW has so far arrested 17 people. The Bank accounts of QNet, its representatives and associates have been frozen with Rs 110 crore.
QNet allegedly lured investors with schemes involving investment between Rs 30,000 and Rs 7 lakh.
“They posed as a marketing firm which sold bio-discs, watches, herbal products and holiday packages. They claimed that by using the bio-disc, one can cure cancer and brain diseases,” police said.