EOW arrest state kingpin in ongoing Speak Asia case
Despite the assertion that Indian regulatory agencies are sitting on their hands as the December deadline to file a chargesheet in the Speak Asia Ponzi fraud case approaches, evidence that their investigations are still very much open continues to surface.
Following the granting of anticipatory bail just over a week ago to Speak Asia panelist and public spokesperson Aman Azad (alias Vivek Sharma), it was unclear how the authorities were going to proceed in the case.
At the time I opined;
Sounds like they’ve already gotten what they need then.
From memory the EOW didn’t bother responding to 383 either until the cronies got sand in their vaginas about it. And even then it turned out to be a complete waste of time.
I’m guessing today’s showing was probably more out obligation than anything. Six months without interrogation indicates they’ve moved up the Manoj Kumar foodchain.
And with the revelation of three new arrests in the case, sounds like I wasn’t too far off the mark.
Mateen Hafeez over at the Times of India published a report today revealing that
The EOW on Tuesday night arrested three persons including the Maharashtra head of the fraud firm, SpeakAsia, in connection with their alleged role in the Rs 2,276 crore fraud case.
The arrested accused, Abhishek Kulshrestha, an MBA, Tabrez Ansari and Saeed Mazgaonkar, were produced before a court and remanded in police custody till November 4.
Those three particular names I’m not familiar with but that’s hardly surprising given the complexity of the case and over two years it’s been investigated over.
One reason the investigation has taken so long is the continued campaign of misinformation circulated by Manoj Kumar’s trusted aides. That and a coordinated effort to vanish those who might offer up key information following their apprehension.
As the EOW explain,
“Kulshrestha was already in our FIR but it took a long time to arrest him since he had vanished for sometimes. He worked with the firm between April 2010 and February 2013.
He originally hails from Bareili in UP,” said a police officer. Ansari and Mazgaonkar are Mumbai residents who had earlier worked with SpeakAsia and later started a fake firm, Status Assocaites, and supplied panelists (investors) to SpeakAsia.
Police found Rs 2.25 crore in their account. Though the firm stopped functioning after May 2010 but Kulshrestha was still getting his salary.
Speak Asia CEO Manoj Kumar has personally fostered a culture of hiding from the authorities by Speak Asia’s top executives, as he himself has remained a fugitive in hiding since the company was shutdown back in 2011.
Several other of Kumar’s remaining key local defacto management have also gone into hiding at one point or another as police investigations continue.
Kulshrestha isn’t the only crony Manoj Kumar was quietly paying despite Speak Asia being shutdown back in May 2011, with AISPA President Melvin Crasto being taken into custody.
Crasto was apprehended following the discovery of deposits made into his personal bank account that he was unable to explain to the authorities.
Meanwhile we’ll have to wait and see what new information is gleaned from the EOW’s latest investigative efforts. Moving on up from nabbing “the head” of Speak Asia’s Maharashtra operations, it would seem the regulatory noose around Manoj Kumar’s neck is growing increasingly tighter.