Rs 2,200-crore fraud case solved, Speak Asia kingpin held: Police

The mastermind in the multi-crore Speak Asia scandal, in which 24 lakh people were duped of over Rs 2,200 crore, has been arrested by the Crime Branch, police said Monday.

"The accused, Ram Niwas Pal (40), was arrested from Whitefield Road in Bangalore, where he was residing under a fake identity Abhay Singh Chandel and had changed his appearance. He was in the process of developing a business plan for a Malaysia-based IT firm trying his luck for certification of popularity for online advertisements of various websites," Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav said. Ram Niwas Pal is wanted in nine cases in Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, he said.

On November 26, the Crime Branch had arrested Ram Niwas Pal's brother Ram Sumiran Pal (37). He told police that his elder brother and an associate Manoj Kumar Sharma were running the online survey marketing company called Speak Asia, which had been registered in Singapore.

They had reportedly created several companies and sold web subscriptions for Rs 11,000 each. In return, the investors were asked to fill survey forms for certain multinational firms. They were promised an annual payment of Rs 52,000.

Explaining the process, police said, members who paid Rs 11,000 would get a password to open an account on the company site. At least two survey forms were displayed to each member. For completing these, members would get more than Rs 4,000 per month. Apart fom that, each member would get Rs 1,000 as commission for referring others. However, the surveys were later found to be fake.

During the questioning of Ram Sumiran Pal, police learnt that his brother Ram Niwas Pal was the main conspirator. After the arrest of Ram Sumiran Pal, one Rambir Sharma registered a case with the Crime Branch, alleging that in 2010, Ram Niwas Pal, Manoj Kumar Sharma, Ram Sumiran Pal and another accused had lured him to invest in their company for profits. Rambir reportedly invested Rs 24 lakh and even attended a seminar at the Talkatora Stadium in June 2011, where Ram Niwas Pal addressed a huge gathering and asked them to invest in Speak Asia.

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