Given that the Solomon James writ 383 case lodged in the Supreme Court is a civil case revolving around the recovery of money from Speak Asia, I myself have maintained that there is little chance it will have any bearing on the criminal investigations into the company.
I wrote the above a few days ago and it pretty much illustrates my thoughts on the Solomon James writ 383 case currently being heard in the Supreme Court.
Ask a Speak Asia panelist (one of the few left who still believe they’re going to get paid thousands of dollars for recruiting people) about the criminal investigations into Speak Asia and your most likely to be told that the Supreme Court will decide everything, criminal or otherwise pertaining to Speak Asia.
Furthermore many believe that it is on the basis of the Solomon James writ 383 case that Speak Asia’s business operations will restart – despite as yet unresolved criminal investigations launched by various agencies (most visibly the EOW and CID).
After publicly failing to clarify the status of their investigation themselves since the Solomon James writ 383 case was launched last year, today finally the EOW have made public how the 383 writ affects their investigations.
The short answer?
Acknowledging the James writ 383 proceedings and the mediation process accompanying it, the EOW has clarified that writ 383 ‘will not affect their (the EOW’s) case, even the SC has said that mediation is separate from the case‘.
Of course one only needed to look at the amount of cases Speak Asia have launched against the authorities attempting to stop investigations into the company to realise this. Cases have been launched in Raigad, Thane, AP and Mumbai, all with the sole intent to prohibit criminal investigations going forward which could potentially result in proceedings at a later date.
Had Speak Asia themselves believed the Jame writ 383 case was going to settle everything, they surely wouldn’t have launched all these cases (there’d be no need).
Many Speak Asia senior panelists have been running around the last few days announcing that with AISPA paying off Navniit Kkhosla, that this means (in Mumbai at least) that there is no basis for the criminal case against the company.
Adressing this, the EOW have answered that
Navneen (sic) Khosla’s money (had been returned) but it will not impact the criminal case.
Kkhosla himself also clarified the status of his FIR,
“I have got six demand drafts collectively amounting to the money I invested,” said Khosla, adding, “I have not withdrawn the complaint. It is the state’s prerogative what it wants to do with the case.”
And whilst senior panelists are running around calling for calm and reassuring what’s left of Speak Asia’s panelist base that they ‘will definitely win’, the EOW meanwhile are pressing on with their investigation.
The latest development could see the possible arrest of AISPA secretary Ashok Bahirwani.
Bahirwani went into hiding late last year and surfaced only when he managed to obtain a 72 hour notice period order from the Mumbai High Court in the event the EOW wished to arrest him.
Following a series of interrogations, the details of which Bahirwani never made public, sometime over the weekend the EOW served Bahirwani with the required notice to inform him of his pending arrest.
A bail application is to be heard later today in Mumbai and seeing as Bahirwani hasn’t been arrested yet, one can assume Bahirwani has applied for anticipatory bail. To date, if I’m recalling correctly, nobody who has been arrested in regards to the Speak Asia case has been awarded anticipatory bail, indicating the strength of the criminal cases against the accused.
Unfortunately for now the EOW haven’t further elaborated on what ground they are arresting Bahirwani on, nor the extent that they suspect his involvement in Speak Asia is.
On the 5th of November 2011 Bahirwani wrote on the AISPA website:
I am the Secretary of AISPA and not part of the SAOL management. The company is not in touch with me, so I have no information what so ever about the internal happenings of the company.
Yet on the 3rd of March 2012, Bahirwani then wrote:
Once the (Speak Asia) business restarts, AISPA will serve us (sic) an interface between the Panelists and the Company Management.
Quite clearly there is an obvious relationship between AISPA and Speak Asia management. AISPA paying off Navniit Kkhosla on behalf of Speak Asia and the revelation that AISPA President Melwyn Crasto was recieving payments from the company (after they had ceased business operations) only strengthen the apparent relationship.
Hopefully if the EOW arrest Bahirwani then the extent of his personal involvement in Speak Asia and its management will finally be made public.
In the meantime, part of what was revealed today by the EOW regarding their investigation did raise an eyebrow.
Money has been repaid by an association and not by SpeakAsia. We are probing a case against the firm. We have 200 other victims.
Mathematically speaking it’s been known for a long-time now that Speak Asia cannot pay out the RP balance it owes to its panelist base, so one would hope that the EOW investigation extends beyond the recovery of funds.
That said, perhaps they are leaving the CID to go after the company itself. Last year it was the CID who announced they were going to approach interpol to try to bring in Speak Asia’s fugitive management team from overseas, where they are currently hiding in Dubai and Singapore.
Shortly after this Speak Asia launched Supreme Court action against the CID to try to stop them further investigating the company. The case is continuing in the Supreme Court with the next hearing set for March 23rd.
Additionally after being repeatedly denied anticipatory bail, Tarak Bajpai and three others have approached the AP High Court (CRLP 10782 / 2011) to quash the CID FIR that they have previously been arrested in connection with. This case was repeatedly delayed last week and has been set for hearing today, March 19th.
Finally, in my last article on Speak Asia I discussed the EOW’s revelation that they had approached the Supreme Court and put in a stay application. I strongly suspect this is the Solomon James writ 383 case however it has been discussed that it might very well be the Speak Asia case against the Andhra Pradesh CID.
The argument I can see for it being in relation to the James writ 383 case are that this case has been cited numerous times by AISPA in their 3611 writ as a reason to quash the EOW investigation. A stay in the 383 case eliminates this argument.
As for the CID case, the only thing I can come up with is that the EOW believe the CID investigation’s continuance will help their own case against the company and strongly influence the Mumbai Court’s ruling in the AISPA 3611 case.
Hopefully later this week this will be clarified and along with Bahirwani’s arrest a more detailed picture can be painted regarding the current status of the various criminal investigations into Speak Asia.