ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 25, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 52
Financial Times  

Quest Net employees arrested, hundreds lose money on scam

Chennai, May 13 - Two of the arrested employees of the multi-level marketing company Quest Net, which has been accused of fraud, may be detained under the Goonda Act, the Tamil Nadu police said. The police have received 8,277 complaints from all over south India against the company, Police Commissioner Naanjil Kumaran told reporters here.

So far, Rs.35 million in cash and 87 kg of gold and silver coins besides valuables worth more than Rs.100 million have been seized from the offices of the company. Quest Net managing director Pushpam Appala Naidu and her assistant S. Augustine may be jailed for up to a year under the Goonda Act, police said. In all, seven employees of the company have been arrested on charges of cheating. Quest Net’s principals in Malaysia have denied any wrongdoing on its or its subsidiary’s part. Granted police custody by a local court until Thursday, Pushpam and Augustine have been taken to Hyderabad and Bangalore to facilitate opening of bank lockers, the police said. Earlier at least 1,500 people queued up at the police commissioner’s office to lodge complaints against Quest Net, eyewitnesses told IANS.

Police sources said the number of complaints increased vastly following television channels’ broadcasting the issue. So far, gold worth Rs.235 million has been seized and seven employees of the company have been arrested since Saturday when action was initiated against the firm.

Scores of complainants have alleged they were taken in by the pep talk by the company’s sales staff. “Not only did I sell my business, but also I pledged jewels of my mother, sister and wife to join the business. Further, I introduced others into this, believing in the scheme and helped them borrow money from banks to the tune of Rs. 100,000. Now we have lost everything,” said Manikandan, a carpenter who lodged a complaint.

“Believing that I was scheduled to get huge returns after receiving a cheque for Rs.2,300, I introduced 30 others who have cumulatively lost over Rs.200,000,” said A. Lakshmi, a resident of the northern suburbs here.

Gold Quest, the parent company of the MLM firm based in Hong Kong, however, has denied any wrongdoing, claiming it was involved in a legitimate commercial enterprise in over 100 countries. The entity has been banned in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Action has been initiated against it in Bangalore as well, police sources added.


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