Plea in SC seeking CBI probe into alleged franchise scam
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court of India seeking direction for the CBI, ED,and SFIO or an SIT consisting officers of the Enforcement Directorate, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Economic Offence Wing, and Crime Branch to investigate money laundering, Benami transactions, black money hoarding, fraud including corporate fraud, cheating, mischief, etc. by directors, partners, and beneficiaries of the Westland Trade Private Limited.
The petitioners, through Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay and Ashwani Kumar Dubey, accuse the directors, partners and beneficiaries of the Westland Trade Private Limited of various criminal activities including money laundering, benami transactions, black money hoarding, fraud including corporate fraud, cheating, mischief, forgery, criminal breach of trust, dishonestly inducing delivery of property, cheating by personation, falsification of accounts, concealment of property and dishonest misappropriation of property.
As submitted in the petition, that
“Until March 2020, apart from store-related operational issues, none of the us observed any red flag and business was normal. The respective payments by the Franchisee Owner were made on time and stores which were running were doing decent business and company employees were responsive. However, issue came into notices since 1st April 2020. Later on, each month the payments were made only after rigorous follow up by each of us with the company. Likewise, payment for the March month, which was due in April was cleared in April and May through instalments. In May, some of us were informed through an e-mail saying that the company is enforcing the Force Majure clause listed in the agreement and there will be no payments for the month of April-May.”
Furthermore, the petitioners added that a letter for an FIR was addressed to Gurugram police, but to no avail, as no case has been registered in the matter yet.
The respective petition alleges that the case is a well-planned criminal conspiracy, directors, partners, and employees deceived the petitioners by fraudulently and dishonestly inducing them to deliver their hard-earned money thereby causing injury to not only mind-body and property but also right to trade, life, liberty and dignity, guaranteed under Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
Thereby stating that CBI, ED, SFIO probe is essential.
Through the petition, the petitioners seek direction for the CBI to investigate the collusion of ROC staff, bank employees, and politicians in this gigantic scam, for the ED to investigate money laundering, Benami transactions, disproportionate assets, and other economic offenses, committed by the fraudsters involved, for the SFIO to investigate corporate, capital market & forensic fraud, violation of accounting, company, taxation & information technology laws, committed by the fraudsters involved, and also appoint a receiver or forensic auditor and pass appropriate directions for recovery of petitioners’ hard-earned money expeditiously.