MUMBAI: The economic offences wing (EOW) on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against former World Amateur Billiards Championship winner and Padma Bhushan recipient Michael Ferreira (77) and 30 others in the Rs 425 crore cheating case involving multi-level marketing firm QNet. Ferreira was arrested on September 30; later, the Hyderabad police took his custody in another cheating case.
The accused have been booked under various sections of the IPC, the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act and the Drug and Magic Remedies Act.
The police said that in 2011, Ferreira and the other accused floated a firm, Vihaan Direct Selling, in Bangalore. While Ferreira had 80% stake in the firm, Desai had 20%. In April 2012, Vihaan was appointed the Indian master franchise of QNet, which allegedly lured in vestors with schemes involving investment of Rs30,000 to Rs7 lakh. The police said the accused posed as a marketing firm that would sell bio-discs, watches, herbal products and holiday packages; the accused even claimed that by using the biodisc, one could cure cancer and brain disease.
“They have cheated thousands of people,” said Oshiwara’s Gurpreet Singh Anand, who filed a police case in 2013 alleging QNet cheated him of Rs 30,000. Currently, cops estimate the firm has five lakh investors.The EOW said the Hong Kongbased firm QNet allegedly lured investors with schemes involving investments of Rs 30,000 to Rs 7 lakh. Anand said, “The QNet scam is the business of selling a fraudulent business opportunity , which is mathematically impossible. The business plan is such that 98% people will lose money and only 2% will ever be able to recover their money invested after drawing more members into the scheme.”
The agents of QNet, who would approach investors to make them members, would be called Independent Representative (IR). These IRs would conduct seminars in hotels, cafes and even smaller places so that they could meet people and convince them to invest in the QNet schemes.
In September 2014, the EOW arrested Susan Chatterjee, Ferreira’s former daughter-in-law.In January 2014, the EOW froze the bank account of actor Boman Irani’s son Danesh, who had allegedly received a commission from QNet. The police had claimed to have found several financial transactions in Danesh’s account. “Records show that Danesh had received around Rs 40 lakh,” said an officer.
Earlier, the police wrote to a bank asking it to freeze Ferreira’s account. “He had earlier told the police that he got commission by working for Vihaan,” said an officer. About his source of income, he reportedly said he wrote columns and appeared as a TV commentator.