Selva Kumar Nadar, the owner of Ashtavinayak Investments in Pune who has been accused of cheating over 200 individuals of Rs 300 crore, targeted high-income individuals mostly working in the IT industry, officials with the Pune police’s Economic Offences Wing said.
According to the police, Nadar, a resident of Kondhwa, targeted them with telemarketing calls, promising them low-interest loans or transfer of existing loans. Once drawn in with such offers, they were then lured into his ‘loan investment scheme’ where personal loans from multiple banks and financial institutions were taken out in their name with consent and invested in Nadar’s firms with alleged dealings in gold, hospitality, hostels and financial markets with the promise of high returns. Ashtavinayak Investments has its office at Nucleus Mall in Pune Camp.
Assistant Police Inspector Mayur Vairagkar, who is investigating the case, said Nadar looked out for professionals with high income. “So far, we have been approached by about 200 individuals who have lost money in this case. Most of them are from the IT industry. Nadar seems to have obtained their contact data from ‘data vendors’ and called them with the promise of low-interest loans,” said Vairagkar.
The police said the scam allegedly took place between August 2020 and November 2022. Nadar, the chief accused in the case, is allegedly on the run after abruptly shutting the office last month. The police have contacted six of his employees and will record their statements.
As per police sources, most of the victims were looking for loans but had trouble getting them due to the financial situation triggered by the pandemic. “Many IT employees had lost a part of their salary as firms stopped paying components such as ‘conveyance’ as they were working from home. This reduced their salary considerably. Such people were lured by the firm Ashtavinayak which promised them loans at lower interest rates,” said an official.
Nadar has been booked under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 34 (act done in furtherance of a common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, and section 3 of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (In Financial Establishments) Act, 1999.