The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL) and its owner Sanjay Bhati in a financial swindle worth more than that in the Punjab National Bank fraud case involving diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
The FIR alleged that Sanjay Bhati, Chief Managing Director of Uttar Pradesh-based Bike Bot, and 14 others cheated investors of around Rs 15,000 crore across the country.
In the alleged scam, the accused floated highly lucrative investment plans in the guise of a bike-taxi service. A customer could invest in one, three, five or seven bikes that the company would maintain and operate.
The scam was designed as a pyramid scheme. The investor would be paid monthly rent, EMI, and bonus with further incentives to add additional investors.
The plans were floated in August 2017, and the collection of money from investors, customers, and repayments continued till early 2019. In November 2018, the company introduced a similar plan for e-bikes, stating that the petrol bikes were facing issues related to registrations. The subscription amount for the e-bikes was almost double the investment as compared to regular petrol bikes, the FIR said.
It was further alleged that to extract money from investors, the company advertised that 'BIKE BOT - THE BIKE TAXI POWERED BY GIPL scheme will be closed very soon and persons desirous of availing the scheme must deposit money hurriedly'. On the basis of such advertisement, about 2,00,000 investors paid the money.
The company's fraudulent activity was in the knowledge of the Noida district authority and police authorities, but no action was taken. "Rather, the SSP and SP crime branch pressurised the complainants to withdraw their complaints," read the CBI FIR.
It alleged that Bhati and his associates cheated and defrauded investors and collected at least Rs 15,000 crore across the country under a pre-planned conspiracy.
Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate had initiated a money-laundering investigation in the Bike Bot scam based on various FIRs registered at Dadri police station in Gautam Buddh Nagar against GIPL, its promoter Bhati and others. The financial probe agency has also attached assets worth over Rs 216 crore in this case.
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