State chief of Surat-based Astha International Subhranshu Lenka was brought on remand to the Town police station here on Saturday for two days.
Earlier this week, the Town police had appealed to the SDJM Court for Lenka’s remand. Investors alleged that the group had collected over Rs 100 crore from Ganjam district alone.
The company had opened two offices in Bhubaneswar and Berhampur in 2010. It had collected money through different schemes promising high return from the people of Berhampur and surrounding areas. On June 5, 2012, the company released an advertisement in a vernacular daily stating that it has been incurring losses for a long time and therefore cannot continue to function. It asked its investors to submit their original documents to claim their money.
As the investors cried foul and wanted the promised amount, the company issued hundreds of post-dated cheques to them in the last week of July, 2012. However, none of the cheques could be encashed as the bank accounts of the company had either insufficient balance or had become dormant.
The investors then took recourse to legal procedures. Their advocates sent legal notices to the registered office of the company in Surat. But, the notices returned undelivered.
The investors claimed that the company’s chairman-cum-managing director Chandrasinh Chauhan had stated that they had obtained the permission from Reserve Bank of India to open Astha Bank that will start its operations in 2011-2012. But, after the company closed its offices, the investors and agents found that the RBI had never issued any licence to the company.
Lenka was arrested recently and remanded in Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar. On June 16, he was brought to Circle jail here.
As the information about Lenka’s presence in the police station reached depositors, many gathered outside the police station to inquire into their deposits. They, however, had to return disappointed as police kept Lenka out of bounds of mediapersons and the depositors. Over 100 cases have been registered against the company in Khalikote and Berhampur.