Yet another case of alleged multi-level marketing fraud duping thousands of investors across many states has sprung up in the city.
Interestingly, Prathibha Group against whom a complaint has been lodged,had marketed themselves by creating a sense of trust among prospective investors by displaying photographs of higher dignitaries like prime minister Manmohan Singh, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah, etc with their chairman and managing director P Ganti Sridhar.
Based on a complaint from Human Rights and Consumer Protection Cell in the city, the case has been taken up by the the Economic Offences Wing of Crime Investigation Department after it was first registered under Section 420 IPC and Section 4 and 76 of the Chit Funds Act at the KPHB police station last month. Prathibha group is alleged to have duped investors across Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, New Delhi, etc.
According to a memo issued by additional director-general (CID) T Krishna Prasad, “The complaints were verified by CID and it is found that the business activities of Prathibha Group through its various sister concerns attract the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 and the AP Protection of Depositors of Financial Establishments Act, 1999 and involve huge fraud.” Some of the declared businesses are farms & estates, foods, publications, GLK films, goat farm, tours & travels, agro, real estate, constructions and farmhouse. P Srinivas, DSPolice (EOW-CID) said investigation was in its early stages. “Prima facie, it looks like a fraud.
General secretary of Human Rights and Consumer Protection Cell Thakur Rajkumar Singh said directors of the group P Ganti Sridhar, P Rani Lokeswari Devi, PRS Lokendra Varma, M Adinarayana, D Sreedhar Patnaik, Veresh Kumar and Upendra had floated many companies as members of Prathibha group in 2010-11 and sought public investments in multi-level marketing business.
“They collected money from public under various schemes by offering plots of land as collateral security. Nearly 160 agents under whom another 1,200 investors are duped have approached me.
There are thousands more,” he said adding that they lodged a complaint with the police after coming to know that the directors absconded. Other complainants Yella Ranganayakulu, Reddy Subba Reddy and Karnati Seetharamaiah added that the Prathibha group had no permissions for running the business.