CBI resumes investigation of “Bike Bot” scam
The CBI has taken up the investigation into the “Bike Bot” scam in which more than two lakhs were allegedly cheated by about 15,000 crore on the false promise of lucrative returns on investments in a bicycle taxi service program.
The agency named 15 people, including the company’s chief executive officer, Sanjay Bhati, in the First Information Report (FIR). Dadri police in Uttar Pradesh had previously recorded 11 cases and made several arrests.
According to the CBI case, complaints had been filed previously and the Noida District Authority and law enforcement authorities were aware of the company’s fraudulent activities but took no action. The then Chief Superintendent of Police and the Criminal Branch Police Superintendent instead pressured the complainants to withdraw their complaints, as is alleged.
FIR reports that Mr Bhati and members of his family had incorporated a company known as Garvit Innovative Promoters Limited (GIPL) in August 2010 with its registered office in Gautam Budh Nagar.
In 2017, the company launched a program known as “Bike Bot – The Bike Taxi Powered by GIPL”. Under this program, an investor had to pay 62,100 per bike with insurance of 5,175 in monthly returns and other benefits. The rent has been set at 4,590 per bike per month. Investors could invest in as many bikes as they wanted. It was a multi-level marketing plan.
Based on the police cases, the Directorate of Enforcement had previously launched an investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In October, he tied assets worth 112.36 crore from GIPL and others. The properties included apartments in the Kangra of Himachal Pradesh and towers under construction in different real estate projects.
In the same case, the ED had attached properties worth 103.73 crore – involving 26 real estate properties and 22 bank accounts in the name of Garvit Innovative Promoters, Independent TV, Mars Enviorotech, Axle Energy, Pantel Mobility Health and other associated entities – in July. .
The ED alleges that in November 2018, the company launched similar plans for e-bikes, indicating that gasoline-powered bikes faced registration and operational issues. The subscription amount for e-bikes was almost double that of regular bikes.
The agency had previously arrested an accused, Manoj Tyagi, and filed an indictment against him.