Hyderabad police take custody of Ferreira, three others in cheating case

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Hyderabad: Former world billiards champion Michael Joseph Ferreira, who was arrested by the Mumbai police for an economic offence a few weeks ago, was brought to Hyderabad on Wednesday for interrogation in a cheating case.

Along with the septuagenarian, Malcolm Nozer Desai (48), Magarlal V. Balaji (40), and Srinivasa Rao Vankka (47) were also brought to Hyderabad on a prisoner transit warrant. They are the directors and shareholders of M/s Vihaan Direct Selling India Private Limited, which collects deposits from individuals assuring high returns through sale of products.

“It is like any other Multi-Level-Marketing company. They collect deposits from individuals throwing at them baits of high returns. They persuade the depositors to rope in some more investors to make more money,” Hyderabad Central Crime Station (CCS) DCP Avinash Mohanty said at a press conference. Such companies convince depositors that huge sums can be earned in a short span of time by directly selling cosmetic or other products to people.

Suman Ghosh, an assistant manager with HSBC, approached the CCS officials a few days ago with a charge that Mr. Ferreira’s friends in Hyderabad, Gourav Sanchet, Amit Sethia and four others, lured him to invest money in the company stating it was e-commerce. Mr. Ghosh and three of his friends invested Rs. 16 lakh and eventually realised that it was not possible to gain the profits they had been assured.

 Even after receipt of the investment, the accused had not given any business to the complainant. Based on his complaint, a case under section 420 (criminal breatch of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 3, 5 and 6 of the Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act-1978 was registered against them.

On learning that Mr. Ferreira and others were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai police in a similar case, a special team of the Hyderabad police went there and brought the accused to Hyderabad. They were presented before a local court.

Meanwhile, the accused moved the High Court of Hyderabad and secured an order staying further investigation into the case. “We got information about the order but no written copy is received yet. The stay order is only till Monday. We will file a counter explaining it is important to interrogate them in the cheating case,” ACP G. Jogaiah said.

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