Trouble mounting for Amway chief as bail plea is rejected again

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018

Amway India CEO William Scott Pinckney

Sessions Judge orders five days police custody

Troubles for Amway India and its CEO William S Pinckney with the Andhra Pradesh police and the courts are continuing.

The CID had registered a criminal case against Amway several years ago and also raided its offices and franchises. The company had then approached the High Court seeking a declaration that its marketing scheme does not fall under the provisions of The Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.

Pinckney is being moved from one prison to another as the company has been slapped with multiple criminal cases across Andhra Pradesh. On Thursday morning, the Khammam police took Pinckney into custody in one such case.

The latest run in with the law and courts for Pinckney began on Monday evening, when a police team from Kurnool arrested the Amway Chief in Gurgoan. On Tuesday, he was brought to Kurnool town, where a magistrate remanded him to 14 days custody, based on a December 2013 case filed by advocate Jagannatha Reddy. He was sent to the Kadapa prison (designated for foreign nationals).

Bail quashed

On Wednesday, Amway India moved in with a bail petition, which was rejected by the Sessions Judge, who ordered five days police custody. Meanwhile, a police team from Khammam took Pinckney into custody from Kadapa prison after obtaining a warrant from a court in Khammam, based on a complaint and shifted him.

On Thursday, the police team produced the Amway India chief before the Khammam Court, where he was ordered to judicial custody. He will be shifted to the Central prison in Warangal. “We will ask for extension of time for interrogation since he has been moved to a different district,” said police officials in Kurnool.

Direct selling major Amway India is facing more than half a dozen criminal cases in various districts in Andhra Pradesh. These include Warangal, Khammam, Kurnool, Medak, Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Interestingly, the company and police have been at loggerheads for quite some time in the State.

Legal activities

Amway India has been arguing that its activities are totally legal and wants clarity on the direct selling industry across the country. “We will now approach the sessions court. We maintain that the allegations mentioned in the FIRs are frivolous and give a misleading impression about our business. We had no prior information about the FIR, which was filed way back in December 2013”.

This chain of events highlights the need and urgency for the Government of India to amend the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978 (PCMCS). This Act empowers the police to seize, seal and arrest on the basis of a complaint.

Several industry bodies such as Ficci and AmCham (of the US) have asked for the various issues to be resolved, especially the arrest of Amway India’s CEO, a US national, in the interest of the direct selling industry as well as international investments into India.

Published on May 29, 2014

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