Published On : Sun, May 11th, 2014

Wasankar investment scam: Still no war cry? Why no CBI or SIT probe to punish scamster?

WasankarNagpur News:

• Nagpur has turned Scam Capital. But still there is no war cry.

• Thousands of gullible investors are being robbed of crores of rupees by scamster investment groups. But still there is no war cry.

• The monsters in the shape of Wasankar Wealth Management Group headed by Prashant Wasankar, Shree Surya Investment Group of Sameer and Pallavi Joshi, Mahadev Land Developers headed by Pramod Agrawal and other monsters wreaked havoc by duping investors to the tune of more than 4000 crores in the past three years. But still there is no war cry. 

• Possibility of more and more scams in future stare the faces of investors. But still there is no war cry.

Thanks to the daredevilry of Vivek Ashok Pathak, one of investors who lodged a complaint against Wasankar Wealth Management Ltd despite being threatened of dire consequences, the Crime Branch of Nagpur Police registered an FIR against its Chairman Prashant Wasankar. Pathak lodged the complaint saying that the amount due to be received from Prashant Wasankar stood at Rs 2,47,36,000 as return on his investment.

Now, the fraud has come on the radars of SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) and Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of Nagpur Police. Both the investigating agencies are digging the facts and ultimately bring the offenders to book. However, the moot question is: Why there should not be a war cry in the form of CBI probe or SIT investigation in order to go deeper and deeper into the series of frauds and bring out the truth. Wasankar is a fit case for CBI or SIT probe.

The Government of Maharashtra, as its prerogative, should order a CBI probe into the obnoxious episode keeping in mind the two most crucial aspects: 1) Curb such devilish business thriving in future by sending the perpetrators to behind bars, and 2) Save the innocent investors from being duped of their hard earned money.

The CBI probe can be ordered on the lines of Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal. The Supreme Court  handed over investigation into Saradha chit fund scam to the CBI. The Court also asked the CBI to investigate Ponzi scheme scams in Odisha, Assam and Tripura. The West Bengal gGvernment, all through the hearing of the matter, had strongly resisted the plea for handing over the investigation to the CBI.

Moreover, any individual or an NGO or social organization should voluntarily approach High Court by way of a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) for setting up of SIT (Special Investigation Team) for a comprehensive investigation. The SIT probe into such frauds can effectively deter the investment groups from any wrongdoing in future as the High Court monitors the investigation.

It is now high time to take toughest actions against the perpetrators of investment frauds. Hats off to Pathak for opening the Pandora’s box. Now it’s up to law enforecement agencies to provide him and others justice without delay. They should act as fast as they did in Shree Surya scam.

Each year, more than 30 lakh consumers fall victim to investment frauds. The average loss for an investor stands at 5 lakh with individual losses running into crores of rupees.

So why do so many investors get duped? Because the very nature of investment fraud is to not raise any suspicion. High returns and seemingly legitimate financials can go undetected for years. However, as the case of Wasankar Gropu highlights, it can all catch up with you in the end.

The term “Ponzi scheme” is named after Charles Ponzi’s famous pyramid scheme. Ponzi infamously promised returns of 50% in 45 days, which were actually paid with by funds from new investors. The scheme eventually failed in 1920 leaving 5 banks and all investors ruined, the latter of which were able to only recoup 30% of their initial investment. Charles Ponzi made $20 million (Approximately 110 crore) through his pyramid scheme, equal to $222 million (Rs 1100 crore) in 2011.

In 2011, Pramod Agrawal duped thousands of people of their hard earned money through his fraudulent Mahadev Land Developers and Kalamna society. The conman did not spare even the daily wage labourers. He duped over 3-4 thousand people to the tune of ` 500 crores. Charges were filed against him after the case came to the fore.

In 2012, Warsha and Jayant Zambre duped over 500 people of crores of rupees through their JS Finances.

In 2013, the notorious Shreesurya scam came to light that crushed the hopes of thousands of people. Sameer and Pallavi Joshi duped thousands of people to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore. Charges were filed against the couple on Spetember 14, 2013 and the matter is subjudice.

After the Shreesurya scam, the Wasankar fraud has once again shook Nagpurians. Prashant Wasankar, with help from his relatives and allies duped over 5,000 investors of Rs 1,500 crore.

Other small scams that rocked the city were the Aman and Rajeshri Hemani scam of Rs 200 crore and the Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank scam of ` 175 crore.

It may be noted here that the modus operandi of all the four scamster companies were the same; high returns in small duration

Four major cases of frauds have been unearthed in the city in a short span of three years. The directors of four companies from the city duped over 10,000 investors promising lucrative returns. The total worth of the scams is over Rs 4,000 crores.

:: Anil Rotkar