Friday, 16 March 2012

Investor withdraws first complaint against Speak Asia

Navniit Khhosla, the first person to lodge FIR against the firm withdraws complaint after recovering over R6 lakh, which he had invested with the firm
Navniit Khhosla, the first person to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Speak Asia last year has withdrawn his complaint. The withdrawal came after Khhosla 'recovered' his losses. He had registered the FIR after losing Rs 6,06,000 which he had invested with the company. It was based on his complaint that the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) arrested over 10 employees, including some high-ranking officers of the company.

Long road ahead: Tarak Bajpai, chief operating officer of Speak Asia,
one of the suspects in the scam, is currently out on bail. 
File pic

As per the reports, money received by Khhosla came from some of the panelists, who have been caught in the litigation on his account. Like Khhosla, most of the 15-lakh investors are recovering their dues via a Supreme Court (SC) appointed mediator.

Representing All India Speak Asia Panelist Association (AISPA) advocate Ahmed Abdi said, "Several panelists came together and contributed around Rs 50,000 each and paid the amount to Khhosla."

The Bombay High Court bench comprising Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode heard Khhosla's case yesterday. Khhosla, who was present for the hearing, said, "I have received the amount I had claimed and would like to withdraw my complaint."

As per Khhosla's affidavit, which was served upon AISAPA on March 6, ' ¦whenever the money claimed by me is paid to me either by the Company, Mediator or any other accused, the deponent would have no grievances against the Company or the accused and would cooperate with them to get the FIR quashed."

At present, the EOW has frozen the company's assets worth approximately Rs 140 crore. The action was initiated after Khhosla registered the FIR. In addition, 10 million USD (approx Rs 50 crore) have been deposited with the SC, and the amount is being used to satisfy claims of other investors.

Currently, the SC-appointed mediator is compiling the number of panelists who want to 'exit' the company, a process that will be completed by March 31. Moreover, the HC has not yet specified as to what will happen to the investigations of the EOW, now that the complaint no longer exists, and has scheduled another hearing for March 27.

Case history
Floated in 2010, Speak Asia, allegedly duped people by posing as a survey company. Investors, also known as panelists, were given usernames and passwords to be used on the company's now defunct website upon payment of Rs 11,000. Each investor was given two surveys to complete in a week. They were promised Rs 52,000 if they completed 100 surveys in a year.

Rs 50 cr
Amount deposited by Speak Asia with the SC

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