For 38-year-old Sarita Angre, this Diwali may bring little cheer. She is one of the scores of investors hit by the PMC Bank scam. As if that wasn’t bad enough, now the Goodwin jewellery store in Dombivali, in which she had invested Rs 2 lakh, has also shut shop.
On Sunday, Dombivali police registered an FIR against the owners and managers of the store for cheating over 200 customers.
“I have lost almost Rs 5 lakh in PMC Bank. I had invested about Rs 2 lakh with Goodwin, which I was supposed to get by October 21 but now I don’t think I will,” Angre, one of the protesters at the store’s Dombivali branch, said.
The investors claimed they had put money with the jewellery store in a monthly investment scheme, police said.
“Instead of paying them back, the accused seemed to have shut shop and fled,” a police officer said.
According to police, an FIR of cheating has been filed against Sudhir Kumar and Sudheesh Kumar, owners of Goodwin jewellers. “We have also booked the manager of the store in Ram Nagar, Manish Kundi,” an officer said.
“I had saved Rs 7 lakh with the store. We were promised either the sum or jewellery worth the money we had saved. I was going to buy my daughter’s wedding jewellery from them,” said Anamika Srivastava (52). Her daughter is getting married in December. “I don’t know how I will arrange the money now,” she said.
The investment scheme of the Goodwin jewellery store was to mature on October 21 and investors had been approaching the shop to inquire about their money. “Since it is Diwali, we had plans to use that money, so we had been checking with them,” said Satyam Vera (38), another customer. “We were turned away on October 21 as the shop was shut. We were informed through a banner hung on the store that it would be shut for two days,” he added.
After a week, when the store didn’t open, customers gathered outside it on Saturday. Ram Nagar police were alerted, who sealed the shop. “We had saved Rs 10 lakh with the store’s scheme but now it seems they have run away,” Sebastian D’Souza, another customer, said.
The Dombivali police have not made any arrests yet. “As of now the shop has been sealed and we are investigating further,” a senior officer said.
On Sunday, several customers gathered at the store and raised slogans against the shop and the police. “Why is it so difficult to arrest someone? Will they act after the accused leave the country?” asked Angre.
The group was started in 1992 by A Mohanan and his sons, who have now been made accused by the police.
According to police, the group has 14 outlets in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and all of them have been shut since August 21. Police claimed that all three accused are on the run. Calls made to the Kumars remained unanswered.