Protest by victims of multi-level marketing firm

Close on the heels of wealth manager Vikram Investments going bust, several alleged victims of a multi-level marketing firm QNET held a protest at Freedom Park on Saturday. Over 50 people came together for the first time in the city to demand a co-ordinated CID probe into their complaints against the firm.

A total of 22 FIRs were registered in 2017 in Bengaluru by around 40 individuals who accuse the firm of taking their money after promising huge returns, but failed to deliver.

Each of these individuals has been allegedly duped of anywhere between Rs. 2.5 lakh and Rs. 6 lakh, totalling Rs. 1.28 crore.

The victims were upset by the slow progress of the probe by the city police, and have now demanded that all 22 FIRs be clubbed together and investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The probe is complicated as the firm is headquartered in Hong Kong, sources said.

Senior police officers confirmed that they had given their clearance for the cases to be transferred to the CID and Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar has written to DG&IGP Neelmani Raju over the issue. However, the cases are yet to be transferred to the CID.

Praveen Sood, DGP, CID, said that they would take up a probe into the cases once they receive orders to the effect.

Meghana Gowda, an HR professional, said that she took a loan of Rs. 3 lakh to invest in the company. “In the beginning, the representatives of the firm did not disclose that it was a multi-level marketing or chain link system. It is marketed as an investment in e-commerce business, selling holiday packages and other goods, such as watches. It was only a month later that they asked me to get more people to invest in the firm to get returns,” she explained.

QNET has been active in the city for the past seven years. The police had arrested a few representatives of the firm in 2016. The Cyber Crimes Division, CID had published a cautionary note on their Facebook account alerting citizens of the alleged scam in November 2017.