Con ‘gurus’ run out of their stock of luck
Duped people to the tune of `500 cr
It was too good to be true. A couple from Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra who lured people with unbelievable investment schemes and organised lavish conferences at luxury hotels ran out luck after cheating more than 2 lakh people across the country to the tune of over Rs500 crore. Ulhas Khaire, 33, and his wife Raksha Urs, 30, were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi police on Monday.
The police said the couple had multiple identities and fooled people by using as many as six fake names such as Lokeshwar Dev (Khaire) and Priyanka Dev (Urs). They are involved in several cheating, forgery and fraud cases in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim.
Ulhas and Raksha floated an investment company called "Stock Guru India" and registered it in Delhi. People were lured to invest money on the promise of lucrative returns and against promissory notes provided by Lokeshwar, Priyanka and others.
“They assured a 20% return per month up to six months on the principal amount followed by a refund of the principal amount in the seventh month through prudent and source-based investments in the share market. But Lokeshwar and Priyanka abruptly shut down their office and decamped with all the money,” the police said.
The couple also held conferences in posh hotels and distributed costly brochures to get people to invest in their company. “They led a lavish lifestyle. We have recovered 12 vehicles, including a Toyota Land Cruiser, a Mercedes and a Hyundai i20. They also owned a bungalow in Goa,” the police said. “They managed to get fake passports created on their fake names.”
Ulhas and Raksha have 94 bank accounts in more than 20 banks. These accounts were opened using at least 13 names. “The accounts as well as fixed deposits and share investments have been identified and frozen,” the police said.
“The Delhi police’s EOW got information about the con couple’s presence in Ratnagiri. They alerted us. We conducted a joint operation and nabbed the couple,” Sukhwinder Singh, inspector general of police, Konkan range, told DNA.
Ulhas and Raksha are in custody of the Delhi police. The husband and wife will be handed over to the police from other states for further investigation later.
Despite the dubious modus operandi it followed, the company has escaped the regulators’ net
Stockguru.India, (SGI) a fraud company operating as a self-styled investment adviser, has allegedly duped its investors of around Rs1,000 crore. According to these investors, the company's managing director is absconding.
In December 2010, Moneylife had reported about the dubious modus operandi of Stockguru.India and advised investors to stay away from investing in the company. (This MLM openly flouts SEBI norms and offers 120% returns in a year through stock market investment!)
Going by the comments posted on consumer complaint forums, as many as 2 lakh investors have been duped of a whopping Rs1,000 crore.
One comment reads: "It's really the height of deception. Lokeshwar Dev made a lot of promises and played with more than 2 lakh families. I (had) also invested hard-earned money and even advised many of my friends … as I found it to be a very lucrative plan. As per Lokeshwar's comment, he has run away to the US and will not return until he would be out of IT department boundaries and (it will) take several years. His web site, contact numbers, top leaders contacts are out of reach, hence there is nobody to help us."
Another comment says, "Stockguru.India was a pre-planned fraud by Lokeshwar Dev Jain. In February, he had to return 100% principal amount taken by his company six months back, so he himself complained to Income-Tax authorities about surplus cash in his office. Only a handful amount of money was seized, as Lokeshwar must have withdrawn the entire amount from the company's account, which is estimated at over Rs1,000 crore, before the raid which he was expecting. He kept making a fool of everyone for the next two months, so he could escape to the US along with his family."
SGI is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that promised 20% returns per month. The company describes itself as the country's 'Premier Financial Consultancy', offering trading solutions in equity, derivatives, currency futures, commodities trading, initial public offerings (IPOs), insurance (life/non-life), general insurance, mutual funds, portfolio management services and terminal handling, all under one roof.
The MLM company's investment plan was very simple. You pay a minimum Rs10,000 as investment and Rs1,000 as registration fees. There is no limit on the maximum amount one can invest. It offers a return of 20% per month for up to six months and the principal amount invested is returned in the next six months. It also gives post-dated cheques of the principal and a promissory note as security. In short, on an investment of Rs11,000, the company offers to pay Rs12,000 in six months and the rest Rs10,000 over the next six months, that is a total of Rs22,000 or a 120% return in a year.
Such huge returns were suspicious, given the volatility in the market, but it did manage to attract a lot of investors.
SGI is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as an investment adviser, but still offers to trade on behalf of clients. It also operated without any trading licence from the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI. So, will the regulators take any action against the officials of the company?
A couple has been arrested for allegedly duping around two lakh investors from seven states of nearly Rs 500 crore by promising them high returns on their investment through their firm dealing in stock market, police said today.
"After a hunt of one year, Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire, 33, a resident of Nagpur, and his 30-year-old wife Raksha J Urs were arrested from Maharashtra's Ratnagiri town on Saturday by the sleuths of Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing for duping over two lakh people from Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra," Jt CP, EOW, Sandeep Goel said.
"Till date we have received 14,303 complaints in Delhi but during investigations we found that there were about 2,05,062 investors who had invested Rs 10,000 or more totalling an investment of about Rs 493 crore in Stock Guru India," he said, adding that the duo was managing to evade arrest by hiding in Moradabad, Dehradun, Alwar, Nagpur and Goa.
In Ratnagiri, the couple was living under the false names Sidhharth Jay Marathe and Maya Marathe, along with their three children.
Giving details of their modus operandi, Goel said, they had floated Stock Guru India in 2010 under false identity of Loskeshwar Dev and Priyanka Saraswat Dev.
They lured several people to invest in the firm promising them highly lucrative returns of 20 per cent per month up to six months on the principal amount followed by a subsequent refund of the principal amount in the seventh month, through prudent and source based investments in the share market, he said.
The scheme to induce public at large was quite elaborate with conferences and distribution of very attractive brochures in five-star hotels all over India, the officer said.
"They also had multiple agents across the country who mobilised funds on their behalf. But instead of returning their investments as promised, the duo suddenly shut down their office and escaped with all the collected funds," he said, adding that first case was registered in June last year and subsequently many more victims lodged their complaints.
The couple had 94 accounts in 20 different banks with 13 different names, 12 properties -- including eight flats in Dwarka in Delhi, one each in Bhiwadi, Alwar and Moradabad and a villa in Goa.
They also owned 12 luxury vehicles, the official said.
Police has, so far, recovered Rs 63 crore worth properties, cash and demand drafts of various banks. Of these, fixed deposits are of Rs 80 lakh, share investments of Rs 5.87 crore, demand drafts from three banks of value Rs 26.86 crore, properties worth Rs 5.87 crore and cash in banks is around Rs 23 crore.
"We have frozen all the accounts and questioning them to know about the rest amount," Goel said.
The couple -- Khaire, who is Class XI pass and Raksha Urs, who has done second year BA in Photography journalism – have old record of committing crime.
Earlier, the couple used to get high value credit cards in fake names and buy expensive items and disappear without leaving any trace. The first of forgery or cheating case against Khaire was registered in 2004 in Nagpur, but he managed to evade his arrest and came to Pune and worked in a call centre for few months.
"From Pune, he went to Bangalore and started working in a finance company, where he met his wife Raksha. After marriage they left Bangalore and reached Lucknow with an assumed name of Rohit and Kanchan Khatri. They then left Lucknow and went to Ahmedabad and started living as Dr Raj and Dr Priya Zaveri, From there they shifted to Bhubaneshwar," he said.
During this period, they applied for credit cards and bought expensive items and leave quietly. But when they reached Ahmedabad, banks got some hint and the couple was refused credit cards, so they went to Dehradun and opened an educational institution in the assumed name of Dr Rakesh Kumar and Dr Prachi Maheshwari.
After collecting fees and documents, the couple fled and came to Delhi to establish Stock Guru India, the Jt CP said, adding that police is now trying to trace the other co-accused.
One of the fraud victims, Ankur Sachdeva, a resident of Karol Bagh, said he had invested Rs 12 lakh in Stock Guru India and the couple had earlier kept their promises of providing good returns.
"But then, they said they were closing this business as they were unable to provide them high returns...they ran away with all the money," Sachdev told reporters.
He said the couple used to rope in celebrities and host programmes in farm houses for the investors.
पती-पत्नीचा १,१०० कोटींचा घोटाळा
कोट्यवधींचे घोटाळे करणा-या केंद्र आणि राज्य सरकारमधील मंत्र्यांनाही लाजवेल, त्यांच्या ' कर्तृत्त्वा ' ला फिकं पाडेल असा ' प्रताप ' विदर्भातल्या - नागपुरातल्या एका जोडप्यानं केला आहे. ' स्टॉक गुरू इंडिया ' नावाची कंपनी सुरू करून, सहा महिन्यांत दुप्पट पैसे देण्याचं आमिष दाखवून या पती-पत्नीनं तब्बल २ लाख भोळ्याभाबड्या गुंतवणूकदारांना चुना लावला आणि १,१०० कोटी रुपयांचा गफला केल्याचं उघडकीस आलंय. दीड वर्षांच्या शोध मोहिमेनंतर, दिल्ली पोलिसांच्या आर्थिक गुन्हे शाखेनं या दोघांनाही रत्नागिरीतून अटक केली आहे.
उल्हास प्रभाकर खैरे, वय वर्ष ३३, शिक्षण ११ वी पास... याच महाभागाच्या डोक्यात पैसे कमवायची एक भन्नाट आयडिया आली. ' एका वर्षात पैसे दुप्पट ' , अशा अनेक योजना मार्केटमध्ये आहेत आणि भोळसट लोक मागचा-पुढचा विचार न करता त्यात पैसे गुंतवतात, हे उल्हासनं हेरलं आणि ' सहा महिन्यात पैसे दुप्पट ' देणारी योजना सुरू करायचं त्यानं ठरवलं. त्याची अर्धांगिनी, रक्षा जे. उर्स (३०) हीसुद्धा तात्काळ पतीच्या सेवेत दाखल झाली. दोघांनीही आपापली नावं बदलून लोकेश्वर देव जैन आणि प्रियांका देव जैन अशी केली. जानेवारी २०१० मध्ये दिल्लीत जाऊन त्यांनी स्टॉक गुरू इंडिया नावाची कंपनी उघडली आणि देशभरातील २ लाख ५ हजार लोक त्यांच्या आमिषाला बळी पडले. त्यांनी या गुंतवणूकदारांना सुमारे १,१०० कोटी रुपयांना गंडा घातला असून हा आत्तापर्यंतचा सर्वांत मोठा घोटाळा ठरू शकतो.
गेल्या वर्षी एप्रिल महिन्यात हा घोटाळा उघडकीस आला. आपण गुंतवलेले पैसे परत न मिळाल्याची तक्रार घेऊन एकापाठोपाठ एक १४ हजाराहून अधिक गुंतवणूकदार दिल्ली पोलिसांकडे पोहोचले. त्यांच्यापैकी काहींनी तर लाखो रुपये (६० लाखापर्यंत) स्टॉक गुरू इंडियामध्ये गुंतवले होते. त्यांच्या ' अकले ' पुढे हात जोडून दिल्ली पोलीस कामाला लागले. त्यांना गुंगारा देण्यासाठी उल्हास आणि रक्षा सतत नवनवी नावं आणि रुपं (प्लॅस्टिक सर्जरी) धारण करून देशभरातील लोकांना लुबाडत होते. पण रत्नागिरीत नवी कंपनी काढून, कोकणी माणसाला फसवण्याचा त्यांचा कट पोलिसांनी उधळून लावला. सिद्धार्थ मराठे आणि माया मराठे ही नावं घेऊन त्यांनी रत्नागिरीत आपलं ' दुकान ' थाटलं होतं. दिल्ली पोलिसांच्या आर्थिक गुन्हे शाखेनं या दोघांना जेरबंद केलं असून त्यांची सखोल चौकशी सुरू आहे.
या वैदर्भिय जोडप्यानं गुंतवणूकादारांना ५०० कोटींना चुना लावल्याचं उघड झालंय, पण हा आकडा हजार कोटींच्या घरात जाण्याची शक्यता पोलिसांनी वर्तवली आहे. या दोघांच्या नावावर ६३ कोटी रुपयांची स्थावर-जंगम मालमत्ता असल्याचंही पोलीस तपासांत समोर आलं आहे. वेगवेगळ्या बँकांमधील त्यांच्या खात्यात २३ कोटी रुपये जमा आहेत. त्याशिवाय, दिल्ली, द्वारका, भिवाडी, अलवर, मुरादाबाबद आणि गोव्यात ६ कोटींचे फ्लॅट - बंगले त्यांच्या नावावर आहेत. २०.४५ कोटींचे अनपेड डीडीही पोलिसांना सापडलेत. तसंच, लँड क्रुझर, मर्सिडीज आणि पजेरोसारख्या १२ कार या दोघांकडे आहेत. याआधी, २००४ मध्ये एक लाख रुपयांच्या फसवणुकीच्या गुन्ह्यात उल्हासला नागपुरात अटक झाली होती.
दरम्यान, कुठल्याही योजनेते पैसे गुंतवताना गुंतवणूकदारांनी कंपनीची संपूर्ण शहानिशा करावी, सर्व कायदेशीर मुद्दे, कागदपत्रं तपासूनच आपला मेहेनतीचा पैसा दुस-याच्या हातात द्यावा, असं आवाहन पोलिसांनी केलं आहे. ' एका वर्षात दुप्पट पैसे ' देणा-या अनेक योजनांमध्ये गुंतवणूदारांची फसवणूक झाली आहे. तरीही लोक या मोहात का पडतात, त्यांना सुबुद्धी का होत नाही ?, असा प्रश्न पोलिसांना पडलाय.
Stockguru.India and its group companies are self-styled investment advisors, offering Rs22,000 on an investment of Rs10,000 in one year
As if there were not enough potholes on the stock market route, here is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that is promising 20% returns per month! The company Stockguru.India describes itself as the country's 'Premier Financial Consultancy', offering trading solutions in equity, derivatives, currency futures, commodities trading, initial public offerings (IPOs), insurance (life/non-life), general insurance, mutual funds, portfolio management services, terminal handling all under one roof.
Stockguruindia.com (the company's portal) has only one standard line of advice in all market situations-whether it is a bull market or a bear market, range-bound market or volatile market. It says, "We advise our clients to buy shares at a low price and sell them at a higher price. Selecting the right share at the right price and entering the capital market at the right time is an art. We help all our clients to make huge profits by investing in good shares for very short/short/medium/long term depending upon the client's requirements. Trading/investment for minimum intraday to T+5 days may give you a handsome return of 5% to 25% on your capital investment."
This MLM company's investment (!) plan is simple. You pay a minimum Rs10,000 as investment and Rs1,000 as registration fees. There is no limit on the maximum amount one can invest. Stockguruindia.com offers a return of 20% per month for up to six months and the principal amount invested is returned in the next six months. It also gives post-dated cheques of the principal and a promissory note as security. In short, on an investment of Rs11,000, the company offers to pay you Rs12,000 in six months and the rest Rs10,000 over the next six months, a total of Rs22,000 or a 120% return in a year.
So how does Stockguruindia.com offer such a high return where even leading investors like Rakesh Jhunjhunwala found it very hard to earn even 20% return from the stock markets? Here is the company's logic..."If you have gained Rs1,000 somebody has lost Rs1,000. If you have lost Rs1,000 somebody has gained Rs1,000. Most of the people you meet say (around 90%) that we have lost a lot of money in the financial markets. But that means around 90% people you do not know have made huge profits. For every seller there is a buyer."
If this sounds to be too good to be true, it lures investors with an additional 3% per month income through a binary plan of 27 levels. Binary plans of MLM companies are the new clients you bring in, who are placed below you in rank in a right and left combination. It's nothing but a trap. All MLM companies promise say you rewards if you complete the left leg-right leg cycle. But in practice this does not happen. There are very few people who manage to do this in a proper way. A majority of those participating fall in the category where they lack a single member in one leg, or a member becomes inactive thus freezing the spread of that leg and the business.
How do MLM companies operate without a trading license from the regulators, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)? Why has there been no action against Stockguru.India, Stockguruindia.com and its subsidiaries? Market regulator SEBI had, on its part, issued SEBI (Investment Advisers) Regulations, 2007 (the 'Draft Regulations') to regulate the advisory activities of investment advisers in India. But till date it has remained a draft only.
According to R Balakrishnan, a columnist for Moneylife, India probably is the only market in the world where a distributor needs to pass an exam, but absolutely no qualifications are required for someone to become a fund manager. The same is applicable for investment advisors as well. As a result, there are a number of 'self-styled investment advisors', including wealth managers, private bankers, chartered accountants and even some MLM companies like Stockguru.India.
According to the SEBI Act 1992, "No stock-broker, sub-broker, share transfer agent, banker to an issue, trustee of trust deed, registrar to an issue, merchant banker, underwriter, portfolio manager, investment adviser and such other intermediary who may be associated with the securities market shall buy, sell or deal in securities except under, and in accordance with, the conditions of a certificate of registration obtained from the Board in accordance with the regulations made under this Act."
In addition, the Act says, "No person shall sponsor or cause to be sponsored or carry on or caused to be carried on any venture capital funds or collective investment scheme (CIS) including mutual funds, unless he obtains a certificate of registration from the Board in accordance with the regulations."
Stockguru.India and all its group companies are openly flouting the norms and rules. It is not registered with SEBI as investment adviser and still offers to trade on behalf of its clients. According to information available over the internet, Stockguru.India and its chairman and managing director Lokeshwar Dev, will help anyone to open a demat account with Sharekhan so that they can manage the investor's money. We checked with Sharekhan and the brokerage said, neither Stockguru.India nor Lokeshwar Dev have any relations with or any demat account with them.
In addition, neither Stockguru.India nor any of its group companies possess a certificate of registration from SEBI for CIS, but they are still collecting huge amounts from clients under the pretext of stock market investment. Are the regulators sleeping on this one?
Monday, November 12, 2012
Ulhas Khaire, Raksha Urs floated an investment company called "Stock Guru India" - Fraud co. fake names such as Lokeshwar Dev or Priyanka Duped people to the tune of Rs.500 cr
Posted by The Bharatiya at 6:03 PM