Hours after he shut shop duping scores of people and fled, the chairman and managing director of Secured Investment Making Services (SIMS) India Private Limited, Surendra Gupta surrendered himself before the fourth town police who are presently interrogating him.
He claimed that he had to flee Saturday following a “threat” by Maoists. The police are likely to produce Surendra Gupta in the court on Monday.
On the other hand, the victims of the multi-crore finance scam joined hands to fight and get back their investments from the company even as Gupta assured them of paying back the money.
Sunday evening, Gupta walked into the fourth town police station and gave himself up. As the news spread, many agitated depositors gathered at the police station and demanded that Gupta be handed over to them. Despite the police trying to pacify them, they did not calm down and tried to barge into the police station leading to tense moments in the area.
Later, the police allowed a group of five victims to speak to Surendra Gupta who is learnt to have promised to return all the investments to the depositors.
He reportedly told the victims that he had cash of `50 crore while the remaining deposits were invested in various properties in and around Visakhapatnam.
“Surendra Gupta told us that he was forced to go into hiding after the Maoists threatened him to shutdown the operations. He admitted that he owes `85 crore to investors under monthly interests for their investments which would be paid soon after he comes out,” said a victim.
The SIMS CMD is learnt to have claimed that he had property worth Rs 247 crore. However, the police said that the properties are yet to be evaluated against his claims.
Police sources said Surendra Gupta had a history of running such financial institutions and then shutting them down abruptly.
He reportedly ran a finance company in Hyderabad from where he fled with investors’ money. Later, he emerged at Palasa in Srikakulam district to start another finance company and then one more in Vizianagaram district.
He duped customers there and then started SIMS in Visakhapatnam.
Minister for infrastructure and investment Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who was then MLA of Anakapalle, inaugurated the SIMS offices at Anakapalle.
Surendra Gupta approached the police through his advocate Sastry and offerred to surrender. On Saturday, Sastry met police commissioner B Shivadhar Reddy stating that the company was ready to pay back all the arrears and investments.
After Reddy reportedly reprimanded the company management for illegally collecting the investments and asked them to surrender immediately, Surendra Gupta is learnt to have decided to surrender before the police.
He surrendered before the assistant commissioner of police and was later shifted to the Fourth Town police station.
Earlier in the day, the victims organised a meeting in the city to chalk out an action plan for collecting their investments.
They demanded that the police should arrest Surendra Gupta, his wife Bhuvaneswari and other directors immediately and ensure that the investments are returned to the depositors.
Even as they were discussing the possibility of taking legal recourse, news spread about the surrender of Surendra Gupta and they rushed to the police station.
The victims decided to seek the help of the district collector and the police commissioner to get a Cental Bureau of Investigation or Crime Investigation Department probe ordered into the case.