SEBI had found that besides facing several allegations of illegal practices, the company was running the scheme without proper approval.

The state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Saturday arrested Vaishali Motewar, wife of Mahesh Kisan Motewar, the chairman and managing director of the controversial multi-crore collective investment scheme company Samruddha Jeevan Group, in connection with a multi-crore chit fund scam.

An offence in this case was registered at the Chaturshringi police station under sections 406, 409, 420, 120 (b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act.

In April, the CID had arrested Abhishek, son of Mahesh Motewar and nephew Prasad Kishor Parasvar, in connection with the case. The two are currently in judicial custody. Police said Vaishali was absconding for the last three years. In November 2016, a sessions court in Pune had issued a proclamation notice against Vaishali, asking her to remain present before the court, but she continued to be on the run. Meanwhile, a CID team, led by Superintendent Jyoti Kshirsagar, arrested Vaishali when she had come to a relative’s place in Nigdi. Sanjiv Singhal, who is holding the additional charge of state CID, confirmed Vaishali’s arrest.

In 2013, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had barred the directors of Samruddha Jeevan Foods India Limited company, headquartered at Shivajinagar in Pune, from raising money from investors. In November 2015, a SEBI officer, Sachin Sonavane, lodged an FIR with the Deccan Gymkhana police station against the company and its four directors — Mahesh Kisan Motewar, Vaishali Motewar, Ghanshyam Patel and Rajendra Bhandare — for allegedly continuing to raise money from investors despite the ban.

The company had been collecting money from small investors, most of whom were from rural and semi-urban areas, with promises of huge returns on investment in cattle and goat farms, said police. SEBI had found that besides facing several allegations of illegal practices, the company was running the scheme without proper approval.

It may be recalled that Osmanabad police had arrested Motewar from Pune in December 2015 in connection with a case of cheating registered in 2012. Later, in a major crackdown, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had carried out searches at as many as 58 locations, 40 of which were in Pune, in connection to two chit fund fraud cases lodged in Odisha. Motewar was then handed over to the Odisha Police.

In April, 2016, the state CID had arrested Motewar in connection with cheating cases lodged at Deccan and Chatuhshrungi police station. In August 2016, the CID had arrested his wife Leena Motewar, who was also the director of the company. She was released on bail by the Bombay High Court last week.

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