HC slams economic offences wing for joining fraudster club

Bombay High Court (HC) observed Wednesday by clubbing cheating cases pertaining to the Speak Asia multi-level marketing scheme of 2011, the "investigating agency is conniving with fraudsters in duping the common man".

Hearing anticipatory bail application of Ashok Bahirwani, a member of All India Speak Asia Panelist Association, Justice R C Chavan said, "Let the investigating agency not give an impression to the common man that by clubbing all these items of cheating and by flooding the chargesheet to such an extent the trial will never see the light of day."

Bahirwani claimed he had no role to play in the alleged scam and he was in fact a victim.

Singapore-based Speak Asia used a multi-marketing pyramid model to allegedly cheat investors by promising huge returns.

The firm allegedly also duped its panelists by promising commission for introducing new members.

For the alleged fraud of Rs 2,600 crore, police have so far arrested 13 people. The economic offences wing (EOW) claims Speak Asia duped 20 lakh investors across the country.

Citing section 219 of CrPC, HC said not more than three offences of the same nature could be tried together. It said clubbing cases of cheating would delay trial.

"Have speedy trials. What has happened to us. When will the trial begin?" Justice Chavan said, pointing out that it would be difficult to secure the presence of so many accused and accommodate them in a courtroom.

"I am deeply disturbed," he said.

"Let the common man not carry the impression that you (EOW) are with them (accused)," Chavan said and adjourned the case till January 23.

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