Ponzi firm dupes 2,000 tribals of Rs 10L, police complaint filed
As per reports, they too had not received their salaries for two months and had visited the firm’s Bhubaneswar office out of desperation.
BERHAMPUR: A ponzi firm has come under scanner for allegedly duping not only over 2,000 members of 400 self-help groups in Kandhamal district of Rs 10 Lakh but 18 of its own field staff who filed a police complaint in Phulbani and Khajuripada police stations on Friday.
In the complaint, the field staff alleged that the firm owners have deserted all the offices after employing them to collect Rs 500 each from the 2,000 tribals with the assurance to provide them a loan amounting to Rs 40,000 each. Though the staff collected the amount, the firm members were no where to be traced soon after. The field staff alleged they have not been paid salary for two months.
As per reports, the firm had opened its office near Phulbani SBI branch about four months back. While its signboard stated that the firm’s head office was located at Krishna Garden at Jagamara in Bhubaneswar, the SHG members claimed that it had opened sub-branches at Phulbani, Khajuripada, Tikabali and Baliguda. Two months back, the firm deployed its field staff to visit villages and interact with tribal women to form SHGs. They subsequently formed 400 such groups - 200 in Phulbani, 100 in Khajuripada and 50 each in Tikabali and Baliguda.
The staff collected Rs 500 membership fee from each assuring them that they would be able to avail Rs 40,000 loan within 45 days. The tribal women were also given receipts of the membership fee. However, when they went to the firm’s office for loan in November, they were dismayed to find it closed.
The field staff, who claimed ignorance about foul play by the firm owners, assured them that the higher-ups might be busy in other districts. But a month later, when the authorities did not return, the staff members too suspected something amiss and informed the SHG members.
The staff however ran into trouble as the tribal women started demanding refund of their money from them.As per reports, they too had not received their salaries for two months and had visited the firm’s Bhubaneswar office out of desperation. Finding it locked, they reached out to the police and filed complaints.
One of them, Basant Digal said, “We had no option but to file police complaint as the SHG members are demanding money from us now.”Meanwhile, police have started an investigation into the fraud.