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Noida police bust Franchise Fraud of Rs 30 cr, 4 arrested

Shashank Shekhar in New Delhi



A high-profile case of forgery on the pretext of opening a franchise across India was busted by the Noida Police on Saturday. Investigators claim that hundreds of people in several states were duped by the gang who made over Rs 30 crore in last one year.

Explaining the fraud, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Central Noida, Harish Chander said the gang member had an office in Noida sector 63 by the name of ‘Hypermart’ and they targeted their victim on the pretext of giving its franchise in their city. It was also found that the gang had opened other dubious companies which were also used to dupe people for the opening franchise.

The gang would charge anything between Rs 30-50 lakh from their victim and after accumulating a huge amount they used to go underground. The investigating officer said that Noida police have details of 38 such victims who were duped by the gang but the actual number of victims can be much higher. The amount of scam could be easily over Rs 30 crore.
Additional DCP Ankur Aggarwal, who led the team that arrested the accused, said eight FIRs were registered only in the last four-five days.

Those arrested have been identified as Ankur Verma, Ravindra Kumar and Sunil Mistry all three residents of Ghaziabad, and Sunil Kumar, who lives in Meerut. The police also recovered properties worth around Rs 10 crore, including 3.300 kg gold, Rs 13,54,550 cash and a Mercedes car, from the accused persons.

“We got complaints from Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and got to know that the racketeers had targeted people across the country. They had promised franchise to people and pitched business models that would get them money. But once they got money from the people, they shut their offices and ran away,’ Aggarwal told reporters.
The mastermind of the gang has been identified as Ghaziabad resident Rajesh Kumar, who is absconding. He also went by multiple fake names, including Rajesh Advani, Arvind Gandhi, Sunil, R K Advani, Rohit Verma, Rahul Gupta, Rahul Kumar, Robert Blue, they said.

Illegally accumulated cash worth Rs 13,54,550, 3.300 kg gold biscuits, 242 g silver coins, a Honda City, a Mercedes E class, a Hyundai Creta, a Maruti Swift Dzire were seized from the accused, the police said.

They also recovered 63 laptops, 27 mobile phones, 26 thermal printers, 37 bar code scanners, 117 ATM cards and 96 cheque books of various banks, 69 PAN cards, 19 voter ID cards, 17 driving license, 23 rubber stamps from them.
The police also got a bank account belonging to one of the accused frozen, which had Rs 56 lakh, they said, adding that further investigation is underway.

An FIR has been registered at the Phase III police station and the accused have been booked for fraud and forgery, among other charges, the police added.

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