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Fly-by-night operators and greedy victims

Fly-by-night operators and greedy victims
Highlights

The managing director of a company, which had collected huge amounts as deposits, promising hefty returns, from a large number of gullible people, was...

The managing director of a company, which had collected huge amounts as deposits, promising hefty returns, from a large number of gullible people, was taken into custody by the police in Vijayawada. Initial reports show that the amount involved was quite substantial and the money was used to acquire properties all over in the names of the directors. It was all done illegally without required permission from the authorities. It may be a long-drawn affair before the hapless depositors get any relief, if at all.

In the recent past, this is the fourth such bogus company to lure customers and ditch them. All these fraudulent activities are being widely reported in the press and the police have been warning the public not to fall a prey to such tempting offers, but in vain, as their greed gets the better of their discretion. A Nearly 30 years ago there landed here, in Vijayawada, a financial wizard, Selvaraj, who set up his business in the name of Saptagiri, and in his hands money multiplied in a very brief period by leaps and bounds. Crowds of not only women, but also highly educated men thronged the place.

A fine range of articles from stainless steel utensils to steel almairas, two-in-ones, stereos and VIP suitcases were on eye-catching display. All that we had to do was pay Rs 100 and wait for just 45 days and then pick up article worth Rs 300. You had either to enlist three more members or pay 10 per cent extra before walking away with the articles of your choice. After collecting a very substantial amount running into several crores of rupees, one fine night he bolted away from this place leaving everybody in the lurch.

A very upright and daredevil police officer K S Vyas was here then. He issued warnings to the people to be cautious, but he could not stop Selvaraj from continuing his looting of the poor people as there were no specific complaints from the public. When the inevitable happened, they rushed to him for his help to nab him. Wasan was his deputy here and he was sent with a few assistants to search for him in deep-south where he was reported to have gone as he belonged there.

Concerned citizens' protest

It was at that stage that a few public-spirited citizens who had been watching the great 'tamasha' going on with long queues at the shop, particularly women, entered the picture and protested to Vyas against using the meager police force available for helping the people who had refused to heed the warnings and fallen into a trap out of their greed. There are recognized banks and some financial organizations and chit fund companies functioning under the control and guidance of the government and their money in them is perfectly secure. Those who fail to take note of these sources for the security of their money and run after a few more rupees need not be shown any sympathy and they have to pay for their own greed.

Such frauds have been taking place everywhere and at all times and that people's refusal to learn from the lessons of others in all these places is unpardonable. It is the bounden duty of the police entrusted with the responsibility of protecting life, liberty and property of the people who are really deserving and law-abiding and their energies and meager force must be utilized only for that.

Loss of money invested in such illegal firms should be treated as disputes to be under the purview of civil suits and let them be decided in the court as per the existing laws. This may embolden the fly-by-night operators to indulge in their daredevil operations, but it will definitely deter the innocent and gullible people who deserve our sympathy and nothing more.

Celebrated victim C V Raman While on this subject, it must be said that the lure of easy money is such a devilish attraction that even some of the greatest are not exempt from it. We are told by our elders that in the early 1940s, there landed in Bengaluru a financial expert by name 'Gopayya'. Money multiplied in his hands at a mind-boggling rate. The news spread like wild fire; men and women from far off places rushed there to reap the harvest. There were long queues of people eager to deposit their money with him. He had to work overtime to satisfy those people.

Finally the bubble burst. Gopayya the angel disappeared into thin air from where he had come. There were thousands left wailing. One of the most distinguished was none other than Sir C V Raman who had deposited quite a good chunk of the Nobel Prize amount. "It was Gopayya who got Nobel Prize and not I," Sir C V Raman was reported to have told his close friends after recovering from his shock.

It is well-known that in R K Narayan's 'Financial Expert', Margaya was only Gopayya on whose wizardry he based the story of his novel. Gemini Vasan filmed it with Motilal as the hero and it was a great success.

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