Delhi police made another arrest in the SpeakAsia fraud case on Wednesday even as the firm’s promoter, Ram Sumiran Pal, held on Tuesday, was cleared to be brought to Mumbai. The economic offences wing of Mumbai police executed the transfer remand of Ram Sumiran Pal, who had been hiding in Dehra Dun, in a New Delhi court on Wednesday and will be producing him in a local court on Friday.
“Pal is the first accused arrested who actually engineered the fraud. He is the master planner of the ponzi scheme which left over 24 lakh investors poorer by over Rs 2,276 crore,” said a police officer.
Working on leads provided by Pal, the Delhi police crime branch arrested Satish Pal on Wednesday. “Satish, a confidant of prime accused Pal, was staying in Najafgarh. His active role was confirmed by Mumbai police, who have obtained his transfer warrant to Mumbai,” said Ravindra Yadav, addl. CP, crime.
Satish Pal, 36, a commerce graduate, remained an active associate of Ram Sumiran and his absconding brother Ram Niwas, two of the brains behind SpeakAsia, and played a major role in the scam. He told the cops he came into contact with the Pals when he shifted to Mumbai in 2007 and joined their company, Seven Rings. In 2011, when the scam was wrapped up, he escaped.
He went to Malaysia and made himself and his family comfortable there with his share of the scam money. Next year, when Ram Sumiran went to Malaysia to evade arrest, he stayed with Satish for over a month. In 2013, Satish sneaked back into India when he learned that Mumbai police had contacted Interpol.
Police in Mumbai said Ram Sumiran, 37, was working as manager with an international bank when he quit and started GrowRich Associates, a scheme in which he promised high returns to investors. His brother Ram Niwas had also started a similar firm.
When they wanted to expand, they joined Manoj Kumar Sharma, who was running Tulsiyat Tech. “Ram Niwas is the designer of the SpeakAsia fraud while Ram Sumiran would look after finance. After they made some money, Ram Niwas wanted to transfer it outside India. They then collaborated with Harendar Kaur’s Singapore-based automobile firm. They gave it a new name, Haren Venture, and transferred money using it as a platform,” a police source said. She was made SpeakAsia’s global chief. Sharma, Ram Niwas and Kaur are wanted by police.
The scamsters are also accused of laundering about Rs 701 crore. “The Pal brothers are originally from Kanpur and stayed in Mira Road. We want to find out about their investments in Malaysia and about the Rs 700 crore. Their office in Eden Garden building at Mira Road has been sealed,” the source said. The police have also sealed over a hundred properties belonging to SpeakAsia office-bearers in Mumbai that are worth over Rs 105 crore.
Till date, 17 persons have been arrested in the scam. The police have frozen 215 bank accounts with over Rs 141 crore. The Bombay high court has asked the police to file a chargesheet on or before December 16.
(With inputs from Delhi)
THE TOP FIVE IN FRAUD FIRM
Manoj Kumar Sharma, the India CEO of SpeakAsia
Role: He planned, designed and engineered the scam. Has fled the country, lookout notice out against him
Ram Niwas Pal, promoter
Role: He brought the finances to start SpeakAsia. Suspected to be into ponzi schemes since 2003. Wanted
Ram Sumiran Pal, promoter
Role: Ex-manager of an international bank. Joined hands with his brother and Sharma’s Tulsiyat Tech to start SpeakAsia. Arrested
Rajeev Mehrotra, technical head of SpeakAsia
Role: Handled the website. Arrested, out on bail
Harendar Kaur, global head of SpeakAsia online
Role: Singapore-based businesswoman who allegedly helped transfer money from India to abroad through her own firm. Wanted