Over three weeks after a lookout notice was issued against him, former World Billiards Champion Michael Ferreira was on Monday grilled for nearly two hours in connection with the alleged Rs 425 crore scam involving multi-level marketing firm QNet.
Accompanied by his lawyer, 75-year-old Ferreira turned up before the Economic Offence Wing (EOW), following Wednesday’s directive by a sessions court to present himself for questioning on Monday.
The court, which is hearing his anticipatory bail plea, had also granted him interim protection from arrest till January 31, when his application would be taken up again.
Emerging from police headquarters after questioning, Mr. Ferreira said, “I was not missing and came here to co-operate with the ongoing investigation.”
Mr. Ferreira, who was away in Malayasia, said he could not appear before the EOW earlier as he was undergoing treatment but refused to disclose the nature of his illness.
Responding to reporters’ questions, Mr. Ferreira trashed suggestions that he had been trying to acquire foreign citizenship.
“I have not applied for any citizenship abroad, these are wrong reports. I have given all my years for this country, why should I apply for citizenship abroad. I am a proud Indian,” he said.
The ace cueist will be called for questioning again in the next few days, an EOW officer said.
Mumbai Police had on January 2 issued a lookout notice against Mr. Ferreira after he failed to appear before them despite summons in the second week of December asking him to turn up and explain his association with the company.
Mr. Ferreira is a share-holder in the company accused of duping investors by offering to sell magnetic discs, herbal products and holiday schemes allegedly through fraudulent practices.
QNet has also been accused of using the banned binary pyramid business model for their multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes to lure investors. The accused have been charged with cheating and forgery under relevant sections of the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978.
Mr. Ferreira had earlier denied any wrongdoing and also defended the controversial company.
In his anticipatory bail plea, Mr. Ferreira said the complaint did not show commission of any offence by him.
While claiming no specific role has been attributed to him, Ferreira said a case under section 420 of IPC (cheating) is not made out against him and he has not deceived the complainant.
He had said any offence under sections of Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act also can not be made against him as he did not promote or conduct any prize chit or money circulation scheme.
The EOW has arrested nine team leaders of QNet in connection with the alleged scam so far.