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CBI takes over probe into ‘Bike Bot’ scam

The CBI has taken over the probe into the ‘Bike Bot’ scam in which more than two lakh people were allegedly cheated of about ₹15,000 crore on the false promise of lucrative returns on investments in a bike taxi service scheme.

The agency has named 15 people, including the company’s chairman-cum-managing director Sanjay Bhati, in the First Information Report (FIR). The Dadri police in Uttar Pradesh had earlier registered 11 cases and made several arrests in the matter.

According to the CBI case, complaints had earlier been submitted and the then Noida district authority and the police authorities were aware of the fraudulent activities of the company but did not take any action. The then Senior Superintendent of Police and the Superintendent of Police in Crime Branch instead pressured the complainants to withdraw their complaints, as alleged.

The FIR states that Mr. Bhati and his family members had incorporated a company known as Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL) in August 2010 with its registered office in Gautam Budh Nagar.

In 2017, the company floated a scheme known as “Bike Bot – The Bike Taxi Powered by GIPL”. Under the scheme, an investor had to pay ₹62,100 per bike with an assurance of ₹5,175 in monthly returns and other benefits. The rent was fixed at ₹4,590 per bike per month. Investors could invest in as many bikes as they desired. It was a multi-level marketing scheme.

Based on the police cases, the Enforcement Directorate had earlier launched a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In October, it attached assets worth ₹112.36 crore of GIPL and others. The properties included flats in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra and under-construction towers in different real estate projects.

In the same case, the ED had attached properties worth ₹103.73 crore – involving 26 immovable properties and 22 bank accounts in the name of Garvit Innovative Promoters, Independent TV, Mars Enviorotech, Axle Energy, Pantel Mobility Health and other associate entities – in July.

The ED alleges that in November 2018, the company had floated similar plans for e-bikes stating that the petrol bikes were facing issues regarding registration and operation. The subscription amount for e-bikes was almost double that of regular bikes.

The agency had earlier arrested an accused, Manoj Tyagi, and filed a chargesheet against him.


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2022 2:50:37 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-takes-over-probe-into-bike-bot-scam/article37292145.ece