Former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira arrested by Hyderabad Police

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Hyderabad, Oct 19 Former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira and three others accused in a case of Rs 400-crore alleged fraud involving the multi-level-marketing company QNet have been taken into custody by Hyderabad Police and brought here from Mumbai.

Michael Ferreira

A Hyderabad Police team had last week submitted an application seeking their custody in connection with the case registered by them.

A Mumbai court then granted transit remand and the Hyderabad Police took them into custody.

"The four directors of the company, including Michael Ferreira, have been brought to Hyderabad from Mumbai on warrant," a senior police official attached to Central Crime Station (CCS), a wing of Hyderabad Police, said today.

They have been brought here as part of further investigation and will be interrogated, he said.

The Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had taken them into custody on September 30 this year in connection with the QNet case.

The EOW has so far arrested 19 persons in the case. QNet and its franchisee firms allegedly sold products such as magnetic disks with 'healing' properties, herbal medicines and holiday schemes.

The company is accused of using the banned 'binary pyramid' model in its marketing schemes, apart from duping the investors.

The FIR was registered in Mumbai in August 2013 under the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 and Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act.

Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat had earlier told the court in Mumbai that Ferreira held 80 per cent shares in a franchisee of Hong Kong-based QNet.

QNet ran a 'Ponzi scheme', seeking investments between Rs 30,000 to Rs 7.5 lakh, the prosecutor had said, adding the investors never got the high returns they were promised.

The money earned by QNet was "laundered" and diverted out of the country, Gharat had told the court, adding that Ferreira's interrogation was necessary to find its "destination".

Here is the brief history of the case:

Michael Ferreira was booked by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) for the QNET case. He had surrendered in a special Maharashtra Protection of Interests of Depositors Act court after his anticipatory bail was rejected by the Supreme Court.

The FIR was registered in August 2013 under the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 and Maharashtra Protection Of Interest Of Depositors Act.

Eight victims had lodged complaints with the Central Crime Sleuths against the Hong Kong-based QNET multilevel marketing company for duping them to the tune of several lakhs through various fraudulent investment schemes and by promising to provide e-commerce jobs.

It has been reported that nearly five lakh investors from across India have been cheated in this scam.

In an order on 6th of May 2016, Justice Mridula Bhatkar had said, "The motto of the company 'sell more, earn more' appears very attractive and innocuous. However, this motto is fully camouflaged. The company stands on a basic statement that people can be fooled. Thus, the true motto is 'sell more earn more' by fooling people. In fact it is a chain where a person is fooled and then he is trained to fool others to earn money. For that purpose, workshops are conducted where study and business material is provided with a jugglery of words, promises and dreams. Thus, the deceit and fraud is camouflaged under the name of e-­marketing and business."

In this case so far 17 people have been arrested. The bank accounts of QNet, its representatives and associates have also been frozen with assets worth Rs 110 crore.

On Tuesday Enforcement Directorate for the same case also questioned Danesh Irani, son of actor Boman Irani. Danesh was asked to be present with his bank details and he was questioned for at least four hours as per the news details.


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