Film producer held for duping investors

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police has arrested a film producer from Chandigarh for allegedly duping investors of crores by trapping them into his schemes on the pretext of getting them high returns, officials said on Sunday.

Chanderkant Sharma (41), who co-owns the CineMirchi Production, has produced two movies, ‘The Great Indian Casino’, released last year, and ‘Lust Wala Love’, which is yet to be released, the official said.

A probe was initiated against Sharma by the economic offence wing of the police as it received at least 88 complaints against him. He was arrested from Chandigarh on Saturday night, police said.

The complainants alleged they were trapped into a collective investment scheme floated by Sharma through his company, Cinemirchi Productions Pvt. Ltd.

The approximate amount of money invested by the complainants is nearly Rs 6 crore, police said, adding that the number of complainants in the case could go up and the cheated amount could go up to tens of crores.

Sharma allured them to invest in the entertainment sector and other undefined projects by the company on the pretext of high returns of more than 70 per cent, according to the police.

The promised high returns with weekly payouts was discontinued abruptly by Sharma. He also vacated his Najafgarh residence and closed his Dwarka-based office in Delhi before shifting his base without any information to the investors, police said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW) O P Mishra said the suspect indulged in extensive publicity campaigns in relation to his purported business in the entertainment sector and also published his photographs with some leading celebrities of Bollywood and Hollywood to lure investors.

“The company invited investors to luxury hotels in Delhi and Mumbai where they held seminars to trap investors in their multi-level marketing schemes. Sharma also publicised about his plans to make one international movie every year,” he said.

Several bank accounts of Sharma were detected and action was taken to safeguard the interest of gullible investors by freezing debit from those accounts. A lookout circular was also issued against Sharma to prevent him from fleeing the country, police said.

“During investigation, we got to know that the accused continued with his investment schemes and was re-launching his fraudulent plan from unknown destination.

“In the meantime, he started threatening the complainants of dire consequences if they did not withdraw the criminal case registered against him,” the officer said.

A case was registered against Sharma under Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. Later, Section 506 (criminal intimidation) was also added, police said.

The investigating team conducted raids at various locations in Delhi and outside.

The accused kept changing his contact numbers frequently but was in constant touch with his close aides. He used to travel at least 100 km from his hideouts to use WhatsApp so that his exact location cannot be traced, he said.

Raids were also conducted in Jaipur but by the time police arrived there, he left the city but he was finally traced from Chandigarh, he added.

Sharma was produced in the court on Sunday and has been remanded to five days of police custody, police said, adding that an investigation was underway.

“During probe, it came to notice that investors were promised a return of over 70 per cent on weekly basis.

“The accused had also created an ID for every investor through which they were offered further cash incentives of five percent for introducing new investors in the chain,” the officer said.

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