Bengaluru: Ambidant fleeced customers by offering lucrative returns

Bengaluru: Syed Ahmed Fareed, the owner of the under-the-scanner blade company in the City – Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, who has reportedly told the Central Crime Branch of City police that the Ballari mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy had allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 18 crore to bail him out of a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case by the Enforcement Directorate, was raided by the ED, Bengaluru zonal unit in January this year under FEMA. The blade company has reportedly cheated more than 15,000 people of over `600 crore.

The ED investigation had revealed many alleged financial irregularities committed by Fareed and his son Syed Afaq Ahmed; from running a potential Ponzi scheme under the pretext of Halal investments and fleecing innocent customers by promising dubious returns to the extent of 12 per cent interest per month to fraudulently indulging in foreign exchange, opening overseas bank accounts and incorporating a firm in Dubai without the permission of the Reserve Bank of India.

Following the raids, the ED had alerted the market regulator – the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the RBI and the State government to check on Ambidant and safeguard the interests of the depositors.

In April, the RBI during its State level co-ordination committee meeting, which is held quarterly, brought Ambidant and the dubious dealings of the father-son duo to the notice of the government in the presence of the then chief secretary.

Fareed and Afaq fell under the radar of the Income Tax Department, which in a letter on November 13, 2017 wrote to the ED that Ambidant was involved in illegal forex trading. The ED raided the offices of Ambidant on January 4 and 5 and seized `1.97 crore in cash from the premises. The amount was confiscated under Section 13(2) of the FEMA.

“The ED subsequently registered a complaint on February 2 against Fareed and his son Syed Afaq Ahmed. The matter was adjudicated by the joint director and penalty of `1.86 crore was recovered from the duo,” said an official.

According to the ED, Ambidant has so far received investment totalling to `954,05,13,321 under various plans like Ultimate Plan and Haj/Umrah Plan from the date of its inception; on December 20, 2016.

“The ED detected that M/s. Ambidant Marketing Pvt. Ltd. was involved in collecting investments from the customers in the name of Halal Investment and offering huge monthly returns to the extent of up to 12 per cent. The money was collected through electronic mode/cheque/cash though they were neither registered with the RBI nor with the SEBI under their Collective Investment Scheme. Fareed and Afaq were found trading in foreign exchange to the extent of US$ 6,62,146 (equivalent to `4,20,46,271 at the then market rate of `63.50 per US$).

Other than M/s Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, Fareed and Afaq had floated several other firms in India  and Dubai such as M/s Ambidant Constructions Ltd., M/s Ambidant Marketing and Trading Company, M/s Profit Theme, M/s Ammar Enterprises, M/s Ambidant Global Solutions, M/s Ambisheltar, M/s Perinet Technologies, M/s Ambigold, M/s Webworld and M/s Ambidant Marketing Financial Services LLC (at Nawras Tower, Al Quasis, near Bustan Center, Dubai) allegedly without the RBI approval,” the officer added.

“The ED has written to the government of United Arab Emirates to furnish information with regards to the ownership of the assets of the father and son. The Directorate has again requested the RBI to have a re-look into the matter and safeguard the interests of the depositors and the state police to provide them with copies of all FIRs, including the current one filed by the CCB, relating to the said investment scheme to examine possibility of initiation of separate PMLA investigations therein,” said the officer.

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