Jeweller accused of duping people of Rs 10 cr through a ‘lottery’ scheme arrested from Noida

Jeweller accused of duping people of Rs 10 cr through a ‘lottery’ scheme arrested from Noida


GURUGRAM: After nearly two months of chase, a Gurugram-based jeweller accused of amassing around Rs 10 crore through Ponzi schemes was arrested from his hideout in Noida Sector 38. The jeweller was on the run since January and kept moving from hotels to rented houses in different parts of Noida to dodge the police. His family members, who had also disappeared, are still untraceable.
Ajay Raghav, 45, hails from Bulandshahr and came to Gurugram around 15 years back with his brother Ram Avtar. They rented a house and started their jewellery shop in the same property. In 2010, they started a lottery committee where people deposited a fixed amount every month and the entire money goes to one person whose name is selected through a draw of lots. The scheme was designed in such a way that every member got the money once in a year. With the success of the scheme more and more people get associated with it over the years, and he gained the trust of the locals.
Gradually, he started another scheme under which people were encouraged to deposit small sums of money every month with the jeweler, and after a year or two, they were given jewellery of equivalent amount. He also started taking money from people promising high interest.
The brothers eventually built a three-storey house (of market value around Rs 2 crores) adjoining the shop.
“Initially people got good returns just like in any Ponzi scheme but gradually, defaults in the promised payments became common. Even then, people kept investing due to the trust the jeweller had cultivated over the years. On January 20 this year, the entire family disappeared unannounced,” said ACP (crime) Preet Pal.
Along with Raghav’s family, two-three more families had disappeared from Gurugram at the same time, and they are still missing. This has led the cops to believe that more people are involved in the scam. “During the interrogation, we will try to find out if others were involved and what they have with the money,” said ACP (crime) Preet Pal.
In January, days before he disappeared, Raghav had taken several lakhs of rupees from some of the people as loan. Radha Devi had invested around Rs 9 lakh in the committee lottery for her daughter’s marriage. “Marriage was in February. When I needed money he flees,” said Devi, adding that she had to loan money from people for the wedding.
On January 24, Pataudi police station received information that people are protesting outside the jewellery shop in Shiv Nagar, alleging that Raghav and his family had taken off after duping people of their savings. A case was registered on the basis of complaint filed by Phool Singh, one of the victims.
So far, around 150 people have approached the police with their complaints against the jeweller. Sunil Yadav, resident of Shiv Nagar, had invested around Rs 8 lakh with the jeweller. “We trusted him with our savings, thinking he will not flee because he has his house and shop here,” said Yadav.
Two days later, on January 26, the crime unit of Sector 40 arrested Ram Avtar from Bulandshahr. Initial investigation revealed that Ragahv and his aides have been running this fraudulent scheme since 2010.
It also came to light that Raghav is in Noida, and after switching from one sector to the other, he has rented a house in Sector 38. With the help of a tip-off, the police tracked down him down and arrested him from Noida on Friday. The accused was produced before court and taken into five-day police remand. “We arrested Ajay Raghav from Sector 38 in Noida. During initial investigation the accused admitted to duping people,” said sub-inspector Arun Kumar.



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