Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ex-employee denies filing SpeakAsia pleas


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: A former SpeakAsia staffer, Tejas Bhatt (34), who had allegedly filed two writ petitions in the Bombay high court seeking quashing of two cases against the fraud firm in 2011, on Tuesday told judges that he never filed any plea. The lawyer who filed the petitions may be questioned, said a police source.
 

    At least seven persons were arrested by the Thane police after cases of fraud and cheating were filed against Speak-Asia. An accused obtained anticipatory bail after depositing around Rs 20 lakh in a Raigarh court. 

    Bhatt has submitted an affidavit that will now be forwarded to the court. Bhatt stated that , “I am not aware of any such petition. I have not filed these petitions before the high court.”
 

    SpeakAsia, floated in 2010, duped more than 24 lakh investors to the tune of Rs 2,276 crore by posing as a survey firm. Cases against the firm have been filed in police stations across various states and it is being investigated by the Mumbai economic offences wing. It encouraged investors to become members by paying a Rs 11,000 fee. The firm’s promoters promised a return of Rs 55,000 within a year.
 

    Special public prosecutor, Pradip Gharat, said, “On Tuesday, the petitioner himself admitted before a double bench of the HC that he has not filed any petition seeking to quash the FIR. He has said that he neither knows about the petition nor its content.”
 

    He added, “It shows that if the petitioner is telling the truth then it’s a bogus plea. Therefore, the advocate who attested such a bogus petition has to explain before the court as who is its author.” Once the police and the defence file their reply, the court may order an inquiry into the filing of write petitions. Till now. the HC has held more than a dozen hearings on petitions seeking to quash the case. The police ordered more than 210 bank accounts containing over Rs 142 crore to be frozen.

The Times of India, June 13, 2013

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