A couple has been arrested for allegedly duping around two lakh investors from seven states of nearly Rs 500 crore by promising them high returns on their investment through their firm dealing in stock market, police said today.
"After a hunt of one year, Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire, 33, a resident of Nagpur, and his 30-year-old wife Raksha J Urs were arrested from Maharashtra's Ratnagiri town on Saturday by the sleuths of Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing for duping over two lakh people from Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra," Jt CP, EOW, Sandeep Goel said.
"Till date we have received 14,303 complaints in Delhi but during investigations we found that there were about 2,05,062 investors who had invested Rs 10,000 or more totalling an investment of about Rs 500 crore in Stock Guru India," he said, adding that the duo was managing to evade arrest by hiding in Moradabad, Dehradun, Alwar, Nagpur and Goa.
In Ratnagiri, the couple was living under the false names Sidhharth Jay Marathe and Maya Marathe, along with their three children.
Giving details of their modus operandi, Goel said, they had floated Stock Guru India in 2010 under false identity of Loskeshwar Dev and Priyanka Saraswat Dev.
They lured several people to invest in the firm promising them highly lucrative returns of 20 per cent per month up to six months on the principal amount followed by a subsequent refund of the principal amount in the seventh month, through prudent and source based investments in the share market, he said.
The scheme to induce public at large was quite elaborate with conferences and distribution of very attractive brochures in five-star hotels all over India, the officer said.
"They also had multiple agents across the country who mobilised funds on their behalf. But instead of returning their investments as promised, the duo suddenly shut down their office and escaped with all the collected funds," he said, adding that first case was registered in June last year and subsequently many more victims lodged their complaints.
The couple had 94 accounts in 20 different banks with 13 different names, 12 properties -- including eight flats in Dwarka in Delhi, one each in Bhiwadi, Alwar and Moradabad and a villa in Goa.
They also owned 12 luxury vehicles, the official said.
Police has, so far, recovered Rs 63 crore worth properties, cash and demand drafts of various banks. Of these, fixed deposits are of Rs 80 lakh, share investments of Rs 5.87 crore, demand drafts from three banks of value Rs 26.86 crore, properties worth Rs 5.87 crore and cash in banks is around Rs 23 crore.
"We have frozen all the accounts and questioning them to know about the rest amount," Goel said.
The couple -- Khaire, who is Class XI pass and Raksha Urs, who has done second year BA in Photography journalism – have old record of committing crime.
Earlier, the couple used to get high value credit cards in fake names and buy expensive items and disappear without leaving any trace. The first of forgery or cheating case against Khaire was registered in 2004 in Nagpur, but he managed to evade his arrest and came to Pune and worked in a call centre for few months.
"From Pune, he went to Bangalore and started working in a finance company, where he met his wife Raksha. After marriage they left Bangalore and reached Lucknow with an assumed name of Rohit and Kanchan Khatri. They then left Lucknow and went to Ahmedabad and started living as Dr Raj and Dr Priya Zaveri, From there they shifted to Bhubaneshwar," he said.
During this period, they applied for credit cards and bought expensive items and leave quietly. But when they reached Ahmedabad, banks got some hint and the couple was refused credit cards, so they went to Dehradun and opened an educational institution in the assumed name of Dr Rakesh Kumar and Dr Prachi Maheshwari.
After collecting fees and documents, the couple fled and came to Delhi to establish Stock Guru India, the Jt CP said, adding that police is now trying to trace the other co-accused.
One of the fraud victims, Ankur Sachdeva, a resident of Karol Bagh, said he had invested Rs 12 lakh in Stock Guru India and the couple had earlier kept their promises of providing good returns.
"But then, they said they were closing this business as they were unable to provide them high returns...they ran away with all the money," Sachdev told reporters.
He said the couple used to rope in celebrities and host programmes in farm houses for the investors.