QNet case: Padmabhushan awardee billiards champ Ferreira held


Hyderabad, Oct 19 (PTI) Former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira and three others were arrested by city police in connection with alleged multi-crore rupees fraud involving network marketing firm QNet, but got a quick reprieve from the high court which temporarily stayed further probe in the case.

As Ferreira (78), a Padma Bhushan laureate, and others moved the Hyderabad HC and secured a stay on investigation till Monday, they will now be shifted to Mumbai on the directions of a local court.

A copy of the HC order was filed in the lower court by the lawyers representing the accused after which it directed the police to send them back to the same jail from where they were brought here.

Ferreira, Malcom N Desai, M V Balaji and Srinivas Rao were in judicial custody in Mumbai when they were brought here last night on production transit (PT) warrants.

“They were arrested and produced before a local court and sent to judicial custody. The court, in compliance with the HC order, asked us to send them back to Mumbai. They were in judicial custody there and we had brought them to Hyderabad on PT warrant. As per the court order, they will be taken back to Mumbai where they are already under judicial custody,” DCP (Detective Department) Avinash Mohanty told PTI.

QNet and its Indian master franchise M/s Vihaan Direct Selling India Pvt Ltd are allegedly involved in a cheating case. Ferreira, Desai, Balaji and Rao are directors and shareholders in Vihaan. They were earlier arrested in Mumbai.

A complaint was lodged against them here on October 13 last year by Suman Ghosh, an assistant manager with a private bank, alleging that despite paying Rs 16 lakh (via DD) in the name of Vihaan Direct Selling India, he failed to get any business as promised. A case was registered under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of IPC, besides under Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, Mohanty said.

During the probe, police received an information from Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on October 8 that the four accused, who all are directors of Vihaan, had been arrested and remanded in judicial custody there.

Subsequently, Hyderabad Police moved a court in Mumbai seeking their custody.

According to Mohanty, several cases were registered against QNet and its associate companies in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, AP, Maharashtra, Delhi and Telangana.

Police are also probing if QNet cheated unemployed persons and software engineers under the pretext of providing employment and business.

Around 60 complaints have been received in Hyderabad against the company, police said.