MUMBAI: The economic offences wing (EOW), which has registered an FIR against five persons, including three members of a family in a Rs 90-crore investment fraud case, found a city-based orthopaedic surgeon had invested Rs 5 crore in the ponzi scheme.
The surgeon was one of Temple Rose Real Estate Pvt Ltd\'s (TRREPL) 3,000 investors so far unearthed by the EOW, which believes the scam may involve at least Rs 400 crore and 12,000 investors. The EOW has filed an FIR against five persons of Temple Rose, whose offices at Parasmani Tower in Dadar (E) and Pune were raided on Tuesday. Those named in the FIR include Devidas Sajnani, promoter and director of TRREPL, his wife Vanita and daughter Deepa and two others-Keshav Iddya and Marx Thorat.
The firm had assured investors their money would double and gave them land papers as a form of surety . The doctor, who had taken a bank loan to invest in the firm\'s `Income Growth Plan\' schemes, was one of the few lucky ones as he managed to get a plot actually allotted in his name when he approached the firm with a copy of his police complaint in 2016.
The EOW acted on the complaint of Abhay Shah, 70, a commission agent, who brought investors for TRREPL. He himself invested Rs 38 lakh in 2013 in the firm but didn\'t get any returns. He pursued the directors for his money and finally approached police in 2016. He told police he joined hands with the firm in 2012. He found many were making profit, which prompted him to invest, besides roping in others. The FIR was filed on Monday but the EOW was probing the case for a few months.
A police officer said, \"The firm deals in real estate and property development. It has been functioning since 2007 and launched four separate schemes -Buy Back, Guaranteed Double in 36 months, Income Growth Plan and Equated Monthly Instalment. The investment amount started from Rs 5,000 and there was no upper limit.\"
Police said during the probe it found the firm had not placed advertisements, its entire business came from word-of-mouth publicity . While police found records of 3,000 investors so far, they have calculated more than 12,000 investors participated in the firm. \"The fraud amount is expected to cross Rs 400 crore,\" the officer added.
The firm would issue allotment letters and post-dated cheques to the investors. \"For in stance, a person who invested Rs 10 lakh would get an allotment letter for the property but no land registration was ever done. The total amount would be divided into 16 instalments and post-dated cheques for the same would be issued to the investors, with four cheques per annum. The investor would get returns every three months and after four years, he would get back the initial amount of Rs 10 lakh. This way, a person who invested Rs 10 lakh would get back Rs 20 lakh. The firm returned some money to investors but stopped doing so since 2014, creating panic among the investors,\" added the officer.
The firm purchased plots at Pingori in Pune, Murbad, Shahpur, Walsure (Raigarh) and Solapur. Till date, it had mobilised Rs 300 crore but invested only Rs 62 crore to buy land. The firm gave a 15% commission to agents for bringing in investors and thus paid them a total of over Rs 72 crore as commission. \"The surgeon, when he did not get his money back, approached police and submitted an application.Last year, he went to the firm with a copy of his complaint.The directors panicked and immediately allotted him 50 acres of land in Pune,\" said the officer.