Bajpai Arrest: Speak Asia CEO Manoj Kumar responds
Following the arrests of Speak Asia’s Chief Operating Officer Tarak Bajpai and three other senior members, the big question on everybody’s mind has been ‘where is Speak Asia’s Indian CEO Manoj Kumar and Global CEO Harendar Kaur?’
With Kaur based out of Singapore, to date she herself has not released an official statement addressing last Friday’s arrests, nor has she come out of hiding – despite being wanted for questioning by Mumbai’s Economic Offenses Wing (EOW).
Manoj Kumar on the other hand, despite like Kaur still remaining at large despite being wanted for questioning, released a video yesterday addressing the recent Mumbai arrests.
Typically, as I’ve come to expect from anything Speak Asia put out, Kumar’s video is high on unsubstantiated rhetoric and misdirection.
Kumar (photo right) opens by introducing himself as the CEO of Speak Asia (under global CEO Harendar Kaur of course) and then proceeds to give an explanation for his absence in light of the Mumbai arrests;
I’ve been travelling for business for the last ten days.
Really. That’s your excuse?
Speak Asia faces its biggest regulatory crackdown in months and you’re off on a convenient business trip somewhere, despite Speak Asia having no business operations or members outside of India?!
Likely chilling with Harendar Kaur in Singapore, Kumar doesn’t disclose his whereabouts – not withstanding his wanted status by the EOW this doesn’t surprise me at all.
Continuing to very obviously read from a prepared statement someone is apparently feeding to him page by page (those page turns are excrutiatingly painful to watch), Kumar continues by reassuring Speak Asia’s members that he’s ‘so going to be back amongst all of you in India’.
Kumar doesn’t provide a timeline or specific date, which is puzzling seeing as all it’d take is a quick flight in and he’d be back in India. Anyone would think he was broadcasting from the moon.
Kumar then goes on to raise three points with viewers;
1. We’ve now been subject to an unparalelled victimization since 11th of May, 2011 – due to a malicious, unsubstantiated campaign against a television channel, against your company.
And some other vested interests joined hands.
While these vested interests are only worried about their personal glory, their gains, their money, they are forgetting about completely, or deliberately choosing to ignore, the plight and fate of more than 15 lakh (1.5 million) families – for whom Speak Asia continues to be a major catalyst, a major source of achieving economic independence.
There’s numerous fallacies in Kumar’s reasoning, but let’s start with the fundamental flaw that it’s not ok to justify income on the basis of how many people are drawing this income if the means is illegitimate.
Speak Asia Online operate primarily on a recruitment driven business model. Members are paid a pittance for completing thus far unproven to be commissioned surveys and are also lucratively rewarded for bringing new members to Speak Asia.
This ‘major source‘ of economic independence that Kumar is referencing would be the recruitment side of things. With payouts of just $7-$20 for completing surveys every week, nobody is relying on such a small amount as a source of income.
Given this, it’s hilarious to watch Kumar attempt to create an illusion of victimization by entities unknown all collaborating against Speak Asia. The picture drawn is that this reporting has come out of nowhere, whilst conveniently ignoring Speak Asia’s pyramid scheme business model.
We have not committed any crimes, you’ve not committed any crimes, you’ve not done anything wrong, we’ve not done anything wrong.
Also till (sic) date neither your company, nor any of its management executives have in any way been formally charged with any misdoings.
This appears to be a straight out lie. Despite being recorded after the arrest of Speak Asia COO Tarak Bajpai, it’s on the record that he and the three other members he was arrested with have all been arrested and charged with ‘criminal conspiracy and cheating and also under sections of the rarely used Prize Chits And Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act‘.
Sounds like some pretty serious misdoings to me.
For the rest of the duration of the video Kumar launches into the now tired nonsense Speak Asia has been spouting despite what is actually going on in the real world.
There’s talk of Mumbai offices (despite Speak Asia having absolutely no property of any kind in India, along with the repeated insistence of full co-operations of Indian authorities and proactive approach to ensuring that they understand Speak Asia’s business model.
Thus, Kumar feigns surprise over last Friday’s turn of events.
Really, is there anything that even needs explaining in Speak Asia’s business model?
Whilst I’m sure the information Speak Asia sent out to government authorities claimed that the business model was nothing more than ‘consumer empowerment‘ and being all about market research and surveys, the cold hard truth of the matter is that Speak Asia is nothing more than about getting others to join the company, pay a joining fee and making commissions off said joining fee.
Pending a change to the business model, there’s simply no way around this fact.
Thus whilst the authorities have Speak Asia telling them lies, after conducting their own investigations into the company’s business model and finding otherwise – do they really have any other choice but to take them down?
Personally promising to lead Speak Asia ‘from the front‘ and heading to Mumbai ‘soon‘, Kumar signs off with can only be described as the complete deterioration of reality over at Speak Asia’s HQ in Singapore.
Looking at the greater picture, it’s clear that with India just a quick flight away, if Kumar was serious about defending Speak Asia, he’d be on a plane to Mumbai in a heartbeat.
The reality of the situation however I suspect is that Kaur and Kumar are instead hiding out in Singapore and, like the rest of us, are waiting to see how this Bajpai arrest plays out.
There is no doubt that under current circumstances Kumar would be arrested should he step foot on Indian soil, and he’s obviously more than aware of this.
So instead we’ve got the almost laughable premise now of Kaur, indirectly through Kumar trying to put on whatever face they can and insist that things are about to return to normal any moment now.
…at least it would be laughable if Kaur, Kumar and the rest of the Speak Asia executives weren’t willing to draw 2 million Indians down the regulatory toilet with them.
Footnote: You can watch the full 4 and a half minute press release video by Manoj Kumar below;