Nagpur, the scam capital-5,000 investors may lose Rs. 1,500 cr in Wasankar's Ponzi scheme
Apart from enjoying the status of being the centre of the country, Nagpur is set to become the scam capital. Four major cases of frauds have been unearthed in the city in a short span of three years. The directors of four companies from the city duped over 10,000 investors promising lucrative returns. The total worth of the scams is over ` 3,000 thousand crores.
In 2011, Pramod Agrawal duped thousands of people of their hard earned money through his fraudulent Mahadev Land Developers and Kalamna society. The conman did not spare even the daily wage labourers. He duped over 3-4 thousand people to the tune of ` 500 crores. Charges were filed against him after the case came to the fore.
In 2012, Warsha and Jayant Zambre duped over 500 people of crores of rupees through their JS Finances.
In 2013, the notorious Shreesurya scam came to light that crushed the hopes of thousands of people. Sameer and Pallavi Joshi duped thousands of people to the tune of ` 1,000 crore. Charges were filed against the couple on Spetember 14, 2013 and the matter is subjudice.
After the Shreesurya scam, the Wasankar fraud has once again shook Nagpurians. Prashant Wasankar, with help from his relatives and allies duped over 5,000 investors of ` 1,500 crore.
Other small scams that rocked the city were the Aman and Rajeshri Hemani scam of ` 200 crore and the Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank scam of ` 175 crore.
It may be noted here that the modus operandi of all the four scamster companies were the same; high returns in small duration
5,000 investors may lose Rs. 1,500 cr in Wasankar's Ponzi scheme
Finally Economic Offenses Wing of city police has booked rogue broker Prashant Wasankar and his cronies under the Maharashtra Protection of Depositors' Interest Act for running Ponzi investment schemes. Sources said that EOW is likely to arrest Wasankar and cronies within a couple of days.
Readers may recall that in December last year, leading Nagpur NEWS PAPER has run a seven part expose on dubious investment schemes run by Wasankar and alerted people. Now that prediction has come true.
Wasankar duped people by offering them between two percent interest rate per month (ie 24 pc per year) to 60 per cent yearly interest. The all popular schemes promised two and half times returns in 30 months and three times returns in 48 months. No commercial organisation in the world can earn profits after paying such hefty interest. However, lured by it literally thousands of people invested their hard-earned money and lost it. Market sources estimate that 5,000 to 8,000 investors might lose between ` 1,000 and `1,500 crore in the Wasankar's Ponzi scheme.
Meanwhile, as the news of booking of crime against Wasankar group broke, thousands of worried investors thronged Wasankar's office in Hill Road since the morning. Wasankar was not in office and his nearly 50 member staff feigned ignorance about his whereabouts. In absence of Wasankar, investors attempted to build pressure on staff for repayment of their deposits and staff had hard time convincing them every thing was alright. This reporter also attended a session in which Wasankar's staff attempted to clarify their position on the first floor of Wasankar's office. (See pic).
Most investors belong to middle class and they have invested between ` 1 lakh to ` 3 crore in Wasankar's Ponzi schemes. But no one was ready to talk to media on record.
A retired chief engineer of MSEDCL, said that he had invested all the pensionary benefits amounting to ` 35 lakh with Wasankar. "Since we are not entitled to pension, I invested money here and used to get monthly interest payment. But now me and my family would be pushed to starvation,' he said.
An employee of State Bank of India along with his wife also was standing in crowd. The family has invested ` 18 lakh with Wasankar. "It is the money I had saved for my daughter's marriage, but now I may lose it, the worried man said.
A doctor from Verma Layout who has invested ` 30 lakh, was heard cursing builder, Vivek Pathak, on whose complaint EOW has booked Wasankar group. This doctor felt that Wasankar was in a position to repay all money but since Pathak has lodged a complaint against him, he now would go bust. "Pathak has proved to be spoil sport," the doctor maintained.
An entrepreneur who has invested ` 8 lakh with Wasankar said that he had recovered ` 3 lakh from Wasankar in January this year and now has to recover remaining ` 5 lakh. "Thank God I did not lose all the money," he said.
Several people in the crowd also were discussing the debacle of Wasankar group and how it happened. Many of them said that since last one year, Wasankar group had run out of money and started defaulting on repayments. Some believed that Wasankar has sent money abroad through hawala route. Some also said that initially Wasankar also threatened people using strong arm tactics and silencing people using underworld dons. However, after the Lokmat Times carried the expose series, Wasankar was thoroughly exposed .
Incidentally, this is the fourth Ponzi scheme that has met its nemesis in last two years. Last year, Varsha and Jayant Zamre couple went down with ` 100 crore after that Sameer Joshi's ShreeSurya Group went down with ` 250 crore and now Wasankar is about to sink with ` 1,500 crore.
Three years ago Pramod Agrawal went down with nearly ` 500 crore. Would Wasankar scam be the last one or another scam would surface soon, only time will tell.