Vikash Sharma

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Bhubaneswar has busted a racket allegedly involved in multi-state scholarship and solar equipment fraud by arresting two persons from Ranchi in Jharkhand. The accused, Tanweer Nazri and Md. Abdul Hasnain are said to be the President and Secretary of Vastav India Trust.

Both the accused were arrested based on the complaint filed by Sebati Mahanta and others against Vastav India Trust. The complainant had alleged that the officials of the Trust had duped Rs 4 crore from public and parents on the pretext of selling/supplying LED bulbs under the solar awareness program and prematric scholarship to the students under ‘Chuuloo Aasman’ scheme.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Vastav India Trust which is registered with Sub-Registrar, Ranchi had set up an office at Bomikhal area in Bhubaneswar during March 2022.

How Fraud Was Committed?

Under solar awareness programme, Vastav India Trust officials allegedly collected Rs.1650 from each applicant as membership fee and assured them to supply LED bulbs.

The survey application form provided by the Trust the logo of Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India. Investigation revealed that it was forged to win the trust of the general public.

Under the pre-matric scholarship program “Chuuloo Aasman”, the Trust was offering the scholarship of Rs.1,000 per month up to 24 months on one-time deposit of Rs.3,000 as a membership charge.

The scholarship amount was payable to the bank account opened in the name of the parents of the concerned students. In this way, the trust collected approx.Rs.4 crore. from more than 3500 persons.

To win the faith of the depositors, the trust initially transfered Rs.1,000 each to some students but did never pay any amount afterwards. Later, the Trust and the office bearers vanished by closing down their offices.

Bigger Nexus

The Trust had appointed block coordinators and other officials in the districts in Odisha like Sundargarh, Bhadrak, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bolangir, Dhenkanal etc. The trust has no authority to collect the deposits.

Not only Odisha, but the field of operation of the Trust also spreads over in States like Jharkhand, Delhi and Bihar.

Seizure So Far

EOW will be alerting the concerned authorities/ police of these states soon. Several incriminating documents like trust deed of Vastav India Trust, fake money receipts issued to the investors etc. have been seized.