Billiards ex-champ Michael Ferreira held in 'QNET scam'

Four persons, including former World Billiards Champion Michael Joseph Ferreira, have been arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police in connection with a binary scheme which has become known as the 'QNET scam' in which people were allegedly duped lakhs of rupees.

The four were arrested after a First Information Report was registered on the complaint of 16 people alleging that Vihaan Direct Selling India Ltd, the Indian franchise of Hong Kong-based firm QNET, is involved in money circulation schemes and are luring the public on the pretext of starting an ecommerce business and later inciting them to enrol more members in the scheme.  

"Complainants lost money to the tune of Rs1 lakh to Rs10 lakh each," a release issued by the EOW said.

Those arrested are Vihaan Direct Selling India Ltd's stakeholders Ferreira and Malcolm Nozer Desai and its directors Srinivas Rao Vanka and Magaral Balaji.

Explaining how the scam works, the EOW said one person convinces a victim to invest between Rs50,000 and Rs10 lakh in his new business and organises meetings with his company after which the victim is explained about a chain system and is trapped into making more members based on which a commission is assured to him.

"To create credibility for their illegal transactions, some vacation packages are shown purchased against the money given. However, those are never delivered to the victim," the police said, adding, "Once the victim is trapped into it, he / she either has to cheat others the same way to recover his / her money by commission or he / she has to forget the money."

In some cases travel packages are shown delivered to overseas fake addresses of Kazakhstan, Dubai UAE, etc, it said.

The release further said that during investigation, it was found that a bank account of Vihaan Direct Selling India Pvt Ltd was opened in December 2015 and within a span of six months, about Rs56 crore was deposited in the account from various sources.

"More than 16 bank accounts of the company Vihaan Direct Selling PVT Ltd, the Indian franchisee of Hong Kong based QNET Company have been frozen so far and total amount frozen in the banks is about Rs7 crore," it said.

More than 65 complaints have been received against QNET/ Vihaan and people have lost amounts ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs11 lakh each, the police said.