The alleged fraud involving Mohammed Faish, Chairman of Showman group and owner of a chain of Sheesha lounges, is likely to have crossed Rs 300 crore, investigators say.
Faish was arrested last week after the South Indian Education Society (SIES), Sion, complained that he duped the trust of Rs 58 crore. Faish was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai police.
Now, the police believe Faish might have duped more agencies. "The fraud is no longer restricted to one trust. It appears the suspect has duped several agencies and the amount of money swindled may be upwards of Rs 300 crore," a police officer said.
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corp (MTDC), Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation Ltd (Mphulebcdc) and Public Health Organisation (PHO) are believed to be the other targets of Faish.
"It was when PHO's name featured during investigations, we realised he had duped government agencies as well," the officer added.
Deputy Commissioner of Police KMM Prasanna (holding additional charge of EOW) confirmed the fear. "Our investigation has revealed that Faish has duped government organisations and we are expecting more names to crop up," he said.
According to a source, Faish allegedly duped MMRDA for Rs 35 crore, MTDC for Rs 70 crore, APMC for Rs 40 crore, Mphulebcdc for Rs 45 crore and PHO for Rs 70 crore.
The EOW is now in the process of informing the concerned agencies.
The scam came to light when Bank of India (Taloja branch) officials got in touch with SIES to check whether the trust had asked for cash credit. The bank informed SIES that Rs 5.52 crore has already been withdrawn using the cash-credit facility.
Upon this, SIES officials checked with other banks and found that a huge amount of money has been siphoned off.
Faish's modus operandi was like this. He used to approach trusts like SIES, promising higher returns for fixed deposits. He would park that money in a bank and give a forged FD certificate to the trust and keep the original with himself. Faish would then use the original to avail cash credit from the bank.
Apart from Faish, the EOW has also arrested Aneel Pawar and Santosh Ghadge and it's looking out for one Roy Joseph, who is also a suspect in the case.