Speak Asia, the investment firm that duped thousands of people of crores of rupees, deposited $10mn in the State Bank of India in Singapore last week. The company had told the Supreme Court that it will return Rs 50 crore to those who were part of the online survey scheme.
The money was deposited with the registrar, Supreme Court, by Haren Ventures, which is believed to be SpeakAsia’s sister wing. SpeakAsia stated that it would return money to others too but the police who are probing the case are not ready to believe them.
“If they are interested in returning the money, it’s a good move. However, why only Rs 50 crore? They should return all the Rs 2,276 crore which is on our records. Why do they want to pay only a few hundred people, while there are over 24 lakh investors across the country?” a police officer asked, referring to the 2.2% that the Rs 50 crore made up. Investigators suspect that SpeakAsia office-bearers are not serious about returning the money. “If they are concerned about the panelists, they should deposit more money. Why only Rs 50 crore? If you distribute Rs 50 crore among 24 lakh investors, how much will each investor get, Rs 208.33?” an observer commented. The police began a probe in 2011 and have nabbed 10 persons. SpeakAsia, floated in 2010, allegedly duped people by posing as a survey company. Over 200 bank accounts, reportedly belonging to the prime suspect and its office-bearers, have been frozen, with Rs 142 crore lying in the accounts.
The rented office of SpeakAsia in Andheri has been shut down and the police had seized two hard disks from there. The panelists’ amount was channelized through various accounts. Among the frozen accounts, the Kritanj Management account had Rs 32 crore .