A court in Maharashtra’s Thane district has sentenced a 38-year-old man to three years’ rigorous imprisonment for duping several people while promising them lucrative returns.
In his order passed on Friday, judge Premal S Vithalani, of special court hearing under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (In Financial Establiements) (MPID) Act, also imposed a collective fine of Rs 60,000 on the accused, from Lokmanya Nagar Pada here.
Special Public Prosecutor Vivek G Kadu told the court that the accused, who operated a financial investment firm, accepted deposits from many people, mostly vendors including fish sellers, while promising to pay them lucrative returns. Between April 2016 and 2017, he accepted huge deposits from the investors, but neither paid them any interest nor returned the money. There were nearly 125 investors and the amount involved was Rs 1,12,46,364, the prosecution said.
The judge in his order said the accused accepted deposits from investors without obtaining permission of the Reserve Bank of India.
All the investors examined by the prosecution have deposed that they have neither received the principal amount nor the interest from the accused. Only a few witnesses have stated that initially got monthly returns from the accused, but then the accused failed to repay the principal amount and further returns, the court said.
As it has come in the evidence of investors that on maturity (of the deposit scheme) they did not receive the principal amount and interest, it amounts to fraudulent default as defined under Section 3 of the MPID Act, it said.
There is nothing on record to show the accused repaid the amount of investors. In fact, the defence of the accused is of “total denial”. The testimony of investors is not shaken in the cross-examination, the court observed.
There is no reason to disbelieve the oral evidence of investors when it is corroborated by documentary evidence in the shape of passbooks and membership certificates, it said.
Hence, the available evidence on record proves the offence of fraudulent default under Section 3 of the MPID Act, the court said.
The court also said the prosecution has successfully established the offence of criminal breach of trust punishable under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code