Mumbai Police today issued a lookout notice against former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira after he failed to appear before them in connection with the Rs 425-crore scam allegedly committed by a multi-level marketing firm QNet, in which he claimed to hold shares.
“The lookout notice was issued against Ferreira in connection with QNet case. We had summoned him for questioning three weeks ago but he did not turn up,” a senior police officer told PTI.
In the second week of December, the Economic Offences Wing of the city police, probing the QNet scam, had served summons to 75-year-old Ferreira, directing him to appear before them to quiz him about his association with the scam-hit company.
The EOW has arrested nine team leaders of the QNet so far for allegedly duping investors by offering to sell products like magnetic disks, herbal products and holiday schemes through fraudulent practices.
Binary pyramid biz model
QNet has also been accused of using the banned binary pyramid business model for their multi-level marketing schemes to entice investors. The accused have been charged with cheating and forgery under relevant sections of the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978.
The lookout notice is a circular issued against a person when he/she is wanted by police either for questioning or for the purpose of arrest in any case.
It is circulated at all immigration checks at international borders (like International airports or sea ports) and as soon as the person is spotted, the authorities concerned are notified.
Ferreira, who was abroad on December 17, had said he would appear before the investigators as soon as he returns to India. He had also defended the controversial company.
Police today said they did not know if the Padma Bhushan awardee was back in Mumbai or still abroad.
The winner of the World Amateur Billiards Championship had also described as “outrageous, malicious and untruthful” the allegations against him of defrauding people through QNet.
"The company has a booklet of goods and service with offers to customers. Then where is the question of anyone defrauding anyone, leave alone me? Customers, who are interested in the products, can buy. If not, then no need to buy. I have not approached anyone and forced anyone,” he had said.
'No operational responsibility'
Explaining his association with QNet, Ferreira had said, “a good friend of mine from Hong Kong told me about the online company (which) wanted to open a franchise complying with local laws in India for the purpose of goods and service (it offers).
“They asked me to be a shareholder and I said yes. I saw it as a great business opportunity. I have no operational responsibility for setting up the company and I am just a shareholder.”
He had also sought to know how the company defrauded anybody. “How they (the company) defrauded anyone? Where is the question of defrauding, I just cannot understand this.
Please appreciate the fact that this is like any other company that has products at its disposal which it offers to customers. And if the customer chooses to buy, then where is the question of defrauding?”