Fraud under lens in Singapore too
The alleged fraud involving Speak Asia, a purported market research firm, is being investigated not only by the Mumbai police’s economic offences wing (EOW), but also by the government of Singapore, the country where the firm is headquartered.
Police sources here claim that the fraud investigation department of Singapore government is also making inquiries into the case after it came to light that the company could have cheated as many as 12 lakh investors across India to the tune of over Rs1,320 crore.
Harinder Kaur, a Singapore national who is the chairperson of Speak Asia, is also shown as wanted in the case. “Serious fraud investigation department of commercial affairs of government of Singapore is now making inquiries into the matter,” said an EOW officer requesting anonymity.
“As per information gathered from the income tax department and enforcement directorate, Rs600 crore has been siphoned out of the country by Speak Asia. Funds in various banks in India have been transferred to those in Singapore. We are getting more details in this regard,” the source said.
The source added that the company has over 137 franchises, of which 18 are in Maharashtra, including four in Mumbai, which collect money for the company and pass it on to three other private companies, who then transfer the funds abroad. “We have details of these private companies and are in the process of taking action against them,” said the officer.
A police officer said that the company has not been paying investors since the last three months after alleging that the Singapore government has frozen their accounts in United Overseas Bank of Singapore. “Twelve lakh people from across India have invested in a company that does not even have an office in the country. More such companies which are into similar business practices are on our target list. The police are also in the process of blocking the company’s website,” the officer said.
According to joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy, a complaint was registered at Nirmal Nagar police station in this regard and the case was then transferred to the EOW. “The complainant had invested Rs6 lakh in company after paying up for more people under his chain. Though there is only one complaint as of now, we request people to come forward and lodge more complaints,” Roy said.
“Investigations have revealed that no product is being sold by the company which can generate revenue. They claim they prepare surveys and sell it to firms like ICICI, Nestle and Bata. However, three months ago, CEO Manoj Sharma had accepted that these claims were false and that these firms were not customers," said additional commissioner of police (EOW) Rajvardhan