NEW DELHI: A plea seeking investigation by multiple agencies in an alleged "franchise racket" has been filed in the Supreme Court.
The petition filed by 38 individuals has alleged they have been cheated and duped by 'Westland Trade Private Limited' which floated bogus companies Hyper Supermarket, Hyper Mart etc.
It has sought an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) & SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) or by a Special Investigation Team to investigate various offences including money laundering and black money hoarding by directors & beneficiaries of the company.
The plea alleged that the company collected franchise fees of Rs three lakh and assured certain payouts and attracted 500 investors.
However, the company defaulted in the payment during the lockdown and sent an email in May saying it was enforcing Force Majure (unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract) clause listed in the agreement, according to the plea.
"The injury is large because under a well planned conspiracy, directors, sleeping partners and employees deceived the petitioners by fraudulently and dishonestly inducing them to deliver their hard earned money," the plea alleged.
A man was arrested in Uttar Pradesh's Noida in August in connection with a 'franchise fraud' in which scores of people have been allegedly duped to the tune of around Rs 30 crore.
According to police, a group of people in the National Capital Region (NCR) had floated a company, "Hypermart", registered in Sector 63 of Noida, and five-six more such firms to target people with offer of giving them a "franchise store" of the firm in their city.