ED gets into action in Bike-Bot scam

Over a dozen locations in Delhi and UP searched in connection with money laundering probe in 4,000-crore case, reports Mudit Mathur

Teams of Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided six places in Lucknow including an office of a news channel among 12 locations in Noida and Delhi in connection with 4,000 crores Bike-Bot scam duping more than 2.75 lakhs investors who lost their hard earned money due to greed of huge returns. ED conducted these raids to unearth trail of money laundering taking cue from syphoning off money collected from investors.

The Greater Noida based kingpin of the scam, Sanjay Bhati, floated Garvit Innovative Promoters Ltd and Garvit Automotive. In 2018 Bhati-led Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL) had come out with multi-level marketing scheme ‘Bike Bot’ and lured investors with a promise of double returns in an year. The company sought 62,100 in investment for a motorcycle taxi and assured monthly returns besides double the investment amount in just one year, but it failed to deliver on the promise. The other schemes ‘Go Way’, ‘Bike For You’ also duped people from almost every region of the country.

The Uttar Pradesh police registered more than 60 cases of fraud and duping investors against the companies and its promoters. The economic offence wing of Delhi police also registered criminal cases against the company and its promoters. The company had used internet, social media, pamphlets and motivators to spread word about the scheme and encourage gullible people to invest in it. The investors would be further trapped with some extra bonus if they could connect more investors with the scheme. The promoters made accused of duping around 4,000 crore from over 2.75 lakh investors in multiple states including UP, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.

The ED had registered a case of money laundering against the Greater Noida-based Bike Bot taxi service and the ED officers did not name the people whose premises it raided. Thesearches were conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to track black and unaccounted money. The investigating team has kept close surveillance on the transactions of various companies in this connection including Pantel Technologies, Pimex Plastic Pvt Ltd (Manufacturing (Metals & Chemicals and their products), Pimex Broadcast Pvt Ltd (Business Services), Prerna Services Pvt Ltd (Computer Related Services) of one Sachin Bhati said to be close confidant of Sanjay Bhati. Teams of ED raided the premises of these private companies to gather additional evidences. Similarly, Mars Group, Accord Hydraulics, Bhasin Infotech and Noble Buildtechare on the radar of Enforcement Directorate for questionable transactions with Sanjay Bhati.

In view of about 60 criminal offences registered against the company,Uttar Pradesh Police last year arrested over a dozen company officials including the Sanjay Bhati. Investigation revealed that over 150 luxury cars were purchased by the company and gifted. Out of 7,000 motorcycles purchased only 2,000 were registered with the transport authorities. They seized more than 100 motorcycles and eight luxury cars.

Investigating officers revealed that arrested kingpin Bhati was a political leader of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Some of the wanted members of the company in the scamare still escaping arrest.Thebike-taxis have been operating in districts like GautamBuddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur and Bulandshahr in western Uttar Pradesh, while its network was also active in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, among others.

“Searches took place on Saturday, February 22, at over a dozen locations in Delhi, Noida, Lucknow in connection with the money laundering probe against Bike Bot to collect additional evidence,” confirmed ED sources.

In Lucknow, premises of Accord Hydraulics in Rajajipuram, its owner’s kin at Para, two other premises at Aliganj and Gomtinagar were raided. Two other premises of Mars group in Hussainganj and Gomtinagar, Lucknow were also raided.

The investigations point out creation of bogus and shell companies and trusts to misuse it for converting black money into white through various methods of money laundering. Sanjay Bhati through Bike-Bot scheme launched through Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL) syphoned off investors’ money by way of donations, advances to directors of the company, granting bogus loans and donations. They misused investors’ money for purchasing land in the names of close associates and friends. Recovery of incriminating documentary evidences in the raids would nail more persons involved in the racket.