Seemingly out of the blue, last friday writ 383 which had been heard in the Supreme Court of India for just under a year was withdrawn, leaving the case disposed of by the court.

Speak Asia’s supporters scrambled to make the best of the news, assuring everyone that “nothing negative” had been said about the company and to wait for the SC order to be published.

The All India Speak Asia Panelist Association, who usually rush to publish anything remotely positive hours after a court appearance, were noticeably subdued. AISPA released a statement a few hours after the disposal that they would only publish something after the order was out.

Meanwhile whoever runs the Speak Asia “corporate marketing” blog, assured their followers there was nothing to worry about. A post put up on the 21st September reads

While our department for corporate affairs analyzes these latest developments, we would like to assure all our panelist in India that the company remains committed to solving this impasse and is very keen to re-start the business at the earliest opportune moment.

Of particular note was the change in tone, in opposition of any agency that did not comply with the Speak Asia agenda:

The company assures full cooperation with any agency or authority that has the jurisdiction on this situation and wishes to fulfill its commitment to refunding the subscription amounts to all those who have opted for the exit option of the company.

To the best of my knowledge to date no government agency has committed to the refund of subscription amounts, a business restart or even the mere entertaining of the Speak Asia “exit option”.

The CID however have filed a criminal chargesheet against the company, the Enforcement Directorate have filed a money laundering case, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated Speak Asia was “akin” to a “money circulation scheme” in a cautionary it sent to Indian banks in May 2011 and the EOW have labelled the Speak Asia Ponzi scheme “the largest fraud case they’ve ever seen”.

Earlier today those behind the Speak Asia “corporate marketing” blog felt the need to publish a clarification to their earlier statements, which despite allegedly referring to itself made several references to “the company” and appeared strikingly similar to the baseless and full of rhetoric “news” that has been published on Facebook, AISPA and Speak Asia Mobi-Club (all run by senior panelists acting as defacto local management) over this past year and a half.

The company has been fighting its battle for survival for more than a year’s period and at this stage, your cooperation and patience in this battle is highly appreciated. We would urge the same deliberation from all of you for times to come.

With all the efforts in line we are bound to overcome the difficult times.

Along with the above statements are a series of wishful thinking dreams which, given the gravity revealed by the publishing of the Supreme Court order for the writ 383 disposal hearing on the 19th September, seem all the more unlikely.

Taking on a tone that suggested they’d been misled by Speak Asia and its senior panelists behind the writ until the ‘Investigating Officer, Economic Offences Wing (III), Crime Branch, C.I.D., Mumbai‘ filed an affidavit on March 3rd 2012 to clear things up, the SC most strikingly admit that the matter of payment to the 115 signed petitioners of the writ is ‘not a matter which could be resolved by way of mediation‘.

Two primary reasons are given for this, the first being that whereas writ 383 pertains only to the 115 signed petitioners (Speak Asia management and senior panelists have been falsely claiming the writ covered all panelists), the SC wholly acknowledge that in passing any order under writ 383 in regards to payments, that they ‘cannot turn a blind eye if other investors also come with a similar petition‘.

Why is that such a big deal?

The answer lies in the Supreme Court’s views and acceptance of the affidavits filed by Indian authorities.

The Investigating Officer filed another affidavit on 15.09.2012 wherein it was stated that in connection with the crime, several persons had been arrested and incriminating documents were seized and some persons

stated to have been involved in the crime are still at large and are not co-operating with the investigation.

The Enforcement Directorate had also registered a case under Money Laundering Act against the accused company.

The counter affidavit further states that the accused persons had misappropriated amount to the tune of Rs.2,276 crores out of which a sum of Rs.141 crores had been frozen in several bank accounts in the name of so called Master franchises/Collection agents and franchises throughout India.

We are of the view that in the light of the above facts this Court is not justified in invoking its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in working out any scheme for settling the disputes which are criminal in nature.

Long time followers of BehindMLM’s coverage of the Speak Asia scam will note that this echoes the exact sentiments put forth on this website back in November 14th 2011before the first mediation session even took place.

I’ve been banging this drum for a while now, but I’ll reiterate once again that no bank in India is going to do business with Speak Asia whilst there are criminal investigations and court cases pending against the company.

You can set up 100 committees led by whoever you want to act as mediators but still no bank is going to take on the liability of transferring funds from a company under criminal investigation.

The idea behind the Lahoti committee, or any other such committee is ridiculous. At the end of the day the criminal investigations are going to trump any civil proceedings demanding money from the company (yes, even the AISPA case).

Speak Asia’s panelists getting paid depends entirely on the outcome of the criminal cases.

Of course when you have Speak Asia’s lawyers willingly perjuring themselves in court and completely mislead proceedings by doing things like present the court with a completely fabricated business model that was never even used, it’s no wonder it’s taken the Supreme Court to finally get to the bottom of things and see writ 383 withdrawn under heavy judge-influenced pursuasion.

And on the topic of misleading, some other myths purported by AISPA, Ashok Bahirwani and the rest of the senior panelist propaganda machine blown wide open by the Supreme Court order include:

  • the verified existance of an ED money laundering case (denied by Speak Asia, AISPA and the senior panelist management)
  • the fact that 15 of the 115 signed writ 383 petitioners were ‘instrumental in running‘ Speak Asia who recruited ‘big amounts of innocent members/investors
  • “petitioner 3” of writ 383 (who exactly this is I’m not aware of) operated as a “franchise” of respondents 3 and 4 in the case (Speak Asia and Haren Ventures respectively)
  • that petitioners ‘6 to 101’ had only invested ‘invested the meager amount of Rs.11,000 each‘ and had only signed the petition after “representatives” of Speak Asia and Haren Ventures approached them and ‘approached them at their respective addresses in Southern States and had assured them that the money invested by them would be returned to them provided they gave their signatures‘. Interrogation by the authorities revealed that said petitioners were ‘ignorant about any Petition filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the contents as well as the purpose thereof‘.

Had this of all been out on the table way back last year whilst Speak Asia, Haren Ventures and their defacto Indian based management of senior panelists misled the court, no doubt the mediation proceedings would have never been ordered in the first place, the recall of which upon the court learning of some of the details the authorities’ investigations have thus far uncovered.

And on the topic of investigation, with the Supreme Court unequivocably giving it’s blessing to the proceeding of any investigations, all eyes now turn to the next writ 3611 hearing, currently slated for hearing on the 26th September.

When we last checked in, AISPA had told the High Court that the stay on the EOW’s investigation needed to remain whilst they sought clarification from the Supreme Court on whether or not writ 383 would take precedence over criminal investigations.

A claim that now (and given the Supreme Court’s previous clarifications on the matter) wholly seems like a moot point.

Before the Mumbai High Court the EOW seemed to be closing in on senior panelists and Speak Asia’s defacto managment (largely connected to AISPA) with arrests pending. As the Supreme Court notes of the most recent affidavit filed by the investigating officer on September 15th,

in connection with the crime, several persons had been arrested and incriminating documents were seized and some persons stated to have been involved in the crime are still at large and are not co-operating with the investigation.

It is widely believed that Ashok Bahirwani was on the verge of being arrested in connection with his (publicly unknown) involvement in the Speak Asia scam. Before that could happen though, AISPA (of whom Bahirwani is the Secretary and public spokesperson of), the Mumbai High Court ordering a temporary stay on the EOW’s investigation, pending AISPA’s request to ‘seek clarification from the Supreme Court‘.

AISPA President Melwyn Crasto had already been arrested, interrogated and jailed over his involvement in the scam (as a “prime promoter”) and the deposit of funds into his personal accounts from Speak Asia that he “could not explain” to the EOW.

Looking forward, if the Indian authorities are on the ball and quick to get things back on track we might be in for some very interesting upcoming weeks.

The Supreme Court order pretty much blows most of the myths Speak Asia’s senior panelists have used to keep the rumour alive that Speak Asia was going to restart its Ponzi scheme if panelists’ only remained patient. Along with the disposal of writ 383 due to voluntary withdrawal, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how the facts in the latest SC order are spun to suit their needs.

At the time of publication, other than the empty rhetoric over at the Speak Asia corporate marketing blog, they haven’t been able to come up with anything.

Stay tuned.


Footnote: The full writ 383 Supreme Court disposal order can be viewed over at the Supreme Court of India website.