The Supreme Court Monday granted bail to a man arrested in connection with Rs 3,500 crore Noida “bike bot” Ponzi scheme money laundering case noting that he did not play an active role in the affairs of the company.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and A S Oka enlarged accused Sanjay Goel, who was Additional Director of Garvit Innovative Promoters Ltd, on bail.
”The petitioner was an Additional Director in the Company for a short period of 23 days as is clear from the order of provisional attachment made by the Enforcement Directorate. There is no dispute that he was an initial investor of the Company and from the material on record, it is clear that he did not play an active role in the affairs of the company.
”Investigation has been completed and the final report has been submitted before the trial Court. In view of the aforementioned facts, we are of the considered view that the petitioner is entitled to be released on bail. Consequently, the petitioner is directed to be released on bail subject to the satisfaction of the Trial Court,” the bench said.
The top court said the order is being passed in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case and directed Goel to cooperate with the investigation in the other FIRs which are registered against the company. The order came on an appeal filed by Goel challenging an order of Allahabad high court by which it refused to grant him bail. The petitioner is involved in a case registered under Sections 420 (fraud), 467, 468, 471 (all related to forgery), 120B (criminal conspiracy), among others at Police Station Dadri, District Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. The company had launched a scheme inviting investments by promising good returns to the investors. About 3 lakh investors invested Rs.3,100 crore in the company and the investors mainly are retired army persons.
Senior advocate R Basant, appearing for Goel, submitted that he was an Additional Director of the company for 23 days. He referred to the provisional attachment order passed by the Enforcement Directorate to submit that the petitioner was an initial investor in the company who was offered the post of Additional Director along with some other initial investors. Basant submitted that the petitioner was not even an authorised signatory and 96 per cent of the shares are held by accused No.1-Sanjay Bhati. He said Goel was not even shown as a shareholder of the company and there is nothing mentioned in the final report about the active involvement of the petitioner in the affairs of the company.
Additional Advocate General for Uttar Pradesh Vinod Diwakar submitted that the company induced investments from innocent persons by floating a Ponzi ‘Bike Boat Scheme’ by offering lucrative returns. He argued that during the period when the petitioner was Director, huge amounts of deposits were made by the investors. The Noida-registered Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL) company had in 2018 come out with the multi-level marketing scheme ”Bike Bot” and lured investors with a promise of double returns in a year.
They sought Rs 62,100 in investment for a motorcycle taxi and assured monthly returns besides double the investment amount in just one year but failed to deliver on the promise.
The firm has allegedly duped around 2.25 lakh investors to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore across UP, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, according to a police estimate.