UP Police Unearths Online Scam of Rs 3,700 Crore

Three employees of a Noida-based company have been arrested for allegedly duping nearly seven lakh people in an ‘earn per click’ scheme.

Representative image. Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Representative image. Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Noida: The Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police busted an alleged online trading scam worth over Rs 3,700 crore on Thursday, February 2. Nearly seven lakh people are thoughts to have been duped on the pretext of getting money for clicking on specific web links.

The task force has so far arrested three employees of Noida-based Ablaze Info Solutions Limited and has sealed the bank accounts of the company that had a total balance of Rs 500 crore, The Hindu reported.

Special Task Force SSP Amit Pathak said that the company’s owner, Abhinav Mittal, its COO Sridhar Prasad and technical head Mahesh Daya have been arrested, and a further investigation into the matter is underway.

“The company has accounts in several banks and some bank employees are also under scanner. We will soon initiate action against these officials. We have informed ED, SEBI and RBI about the fraud,” Pathak told The Hindu.

The three accused allegedly set an online portal ‘socialtrade.biz’ where, in order to become a member, an investor had to shell out anything between Rs 5,750 to Rs 57,500 to earn Rs 5 per click on web links provided by the company.

“The company offers Rs 5 per like to investors and claim they used to get Rs 6 from the concerned companies for every like. However, the links sent to them were fake,” PTI quoted the official as saying.

In order to avoid coming under the radar, the accused would frequently change the name of the company. Apart from socialtrade.biz, the names under which they operated include freehub.com, intmaart.com, frenzzup.com and 3W.com.

A probe into the matter, which was initiated after investors began alleging that they were not receiving money from the clicks as promised by the company, revealed that so far the company had done a business worth over Rs 3,726 crore.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the company duped around 6.5 lakh people with its ‘earn per click’ scheme.

According to The Hindu, the victims of the scam – including several IT, media professionals and doctors among others – allege that to deal with the growing number of customers and the voluminous transactions, the company even claimed to be starting its own private bank.

“We have written a letter to the authorities concerned to stop transaction of Rs 524 crore of the company. We wanted to continue our probe for another week, but the information of our investigation reached the company top brass and they had started to transfer money to other accounts,” Pathak added.

According to an IANS report, besides informing the Reserve Bank of India, the Income Tax department and SEBI about the case, the police have seized various official documents of the company including its balance sheet and a list of investors.

(With agency inputs)