Bhubaneswar: Even after lakhs of people fell prey to the multi-crore chit fund scam in Odisha, it seems like people in the State are yet to become aware and continue to get carried away by false promises of big profits and returns. Recently, a few people have alleged that one Hong Kong-based marketing company – QNet has cheated them of lakhs of rupees.
QNet is reportedly spread across the globe and operates in the country through its India franchise Vihan Direct Selling limited. As per reports, the said marketing company has so far duped over 1000 people in the State, but police are yet to take any steps against the fraudsters even after repeated complaints.
A ‘duped’ investor Sriranjan Mohanty alleged that the company has taken Rs 5.6 lakh from him and in return gave him a tea packet weighing 50 gm worth Rs 1000 and a wrist watch worth Rs 10,000, which the company claimed to be worth Rs 62,000. “It is a cheat company,” he added.
While terming the allegations baseless, QNET Ltd's Regional Director, South Asia, Rishi Chandiok said, " QNET is not an investment company and does not offer any investment opportunities or investment products. QNET is a 21-year-old direct selling company which markets an exclusive range of high-quality products in the areas of Health, Wellness and Lifestyle. Our products and services are sold to customers in more than 100 countries and we have a local presence in 25 countries. In India, the QNET’s local sub-franchisee Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd operates in full compliance of the Direct Selling Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of India (Issued in September 2016)"
Another investor Gyana Ranjan Mishra said, “We met the Police DG directly and as per his advice, we registered a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing on June 26. However, no action has been taken against the company yet.”
It is alleged that the company used to conduct meetings at several renowned hotels in Bhubaneswar to explain people about the business mantra and lure them. An investigation team of OTV once reached a venue where such a meeting of the company was in progress and spoke to a few people who were part of the meeting.
“We are creating only entrepreneurs. The company has a tie up with more than 18 multi-national companies and we look into the distribution part,’ said an investor, who was at such a meeting.
"QNET or Vihaan does not conduct any meetings about its business. Only registered distributors of the company who are independent contractors present the products and the business opportunity to prospective customers. They are free to conduct such meetings," Chandiok said.
Meanwhile, an RTI report revealed that there is no record of the Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Private Limited being a legally authorised company permitted by the Odisha government or the Government of India.
Responding to such queries, Chandiok clarified that "Vihaan Direct Selling is a legally incorporated company that operates in full compliance with the laws and regulations of India. We also take this opportunity to share that Vihaan Direct Selling is compliant with the Odisha Direct Selling Guidelines issued by the state government"
On the other hand, the BJP and the Congress have targeted the Odisha government over delay in action against the culprits and the company. “The Centre had earlier issued an advisory in this regard, but the silence of Odisha government is raising doubts,” said State BJP spokesperson, Golak Mohapatra.
“The silence of State government hints at the involvement of a big shot within the ruling-BJD. Once the company completely dupes the investors, the government will set up a commission of inquiry,” said Odisha Congress leader Panchanan Kanungo while taking a jibe at the State government.
No comments on the matter could be obtained from the ruling-BJD or the concerned officials of the State government.