Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Special Investigation Group – II of the Ernakulam Crime Branch arrested one person on charges of cheating people by advertising for franchisees for a private communication network stating services that were never provided.

According the police, Thomas P. Thomas, 52, of Paniyittayil, Kiliyamthara, Thalassery, Kannur, was working as the Kerala regional manager of the Chennai-based Delta Innovatives Enterprises Limited in 2000-‘01. He put advertisements in dailies calling for those willing to be franchisees of the company in Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam.

The accused promised that his company had branches across the country and messages could be delivered to any point within 15 minutes for just Rs.5 using Satmail or satellite mail. All one needed to do was fax the message to the regional centre and the message will be sent to the address using e-call, e-letter or tele-mail etc., the advertisement claimed.

The accused had collected nearly Rs.30 lakh from more than 100 persons who responded to the advertisements. The Crime Branch registered a case on the basis of a complaint by Omana Jacob, owner of Noha Communications Sat Centre, Kottayam.

Inquiries led by Superintendent of Police P.H. Ashraf and Dy.SP Baby Vinod showed that the company did not have the facility to deliver messages to States other than Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Even in these States, the company had centres in only a couple of districts. What the accused did was to collect money and leave the place. Many centres in the State closed down after the company failed to deliver.