Ponzi scheme racket busted by Punjab Police; 5 held

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Chandigarh, May 20 (PTI) The Punjab Police on Thursday claimed to have busted a ponzi scheme investment racket with the arrest of five people, an official statement said.

The racket was being operated via an online platform under the name of Espian Global - a proxy of an online gaming website ESPN Global, offering weekly four-fold high returns of the money invested, besides foreign trips to lure innocent people, it said.

The accused were identified as Ikshit, a resident of Sirsa in Haryana, Ankit of Bhiwani Haryana, Rakesh Kumar of Zirakpur in SAS Nagar, Gurpreet Singh and Sachinpreet Sindhu, both residents of Mohali in SAS Nagar.

The police also seized Rs 8.2 lakh from them, the statement said.

Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta said following a complaint from one such investor, who claimed to have invested around Rs 16 lakhs and got nothing in return, Rupnagar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rupnagar Akhil Chaudhary directed Superintendent of Police (SP, Headquarters) Ankur Gupta to immediately register the FIR and start investigations into the case.

During the probe, Gupta said, the police managed to trace the bank accounts based in Mumbai, in which cash transfers were made and during scrutiny of statements of these accounts, it was found that people across India have made investments amounting to crores on this platform.

The DGP also appealed to the people to be aware of such online schemes and not invest without proper verification.

To lure people, the company offered three investment slots including Rs 4.82 lakh, Rs 7 lakh and Rs 19.40 lakh, Chaudhary said, adding they also organised special seminars.

When someone invested in one of the slots, Electronic Transaction Purchase (EPT) was generated and Indian currency was converted into EPTs (one EPT equals one dollar) and corresponding dollars, based on which weekly returns were promised, he said.

The fraudsters had a hierarchical system in place with 13 ranks and if a person got more customers to invest in the scheme, his rank improved in this system, the officer said. PTI CHS VSD RHL

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