Prime accused in fraudulent Unipay scheme arrested
GUWAHATI, Feb 4 (NETV): Pranab Jyoti Barman, the main accused in the Rs 1500 crore Unipay2U scam was sent to 10 days’ BIEO custody on Saturday. Meanwhile, allegations of the CID and BIEO sleuths bargaining with Barman to secure his bail have also been leveled. Pranab Jyoti Barman, the main accused in the Rs 1500 crore Unipay scam had looted crores of money by duping the investors.
Barman was believed to be in Malaysia after the Assam Police tightened the noose around him. However, he managed to obtain an anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court in a CID case against him and reached Guwahati a few days ago. On Friday, he contacted the CID as per the bail conditions and the CID sleuths called him to their office. However, he was unaware of the BIEO case against him. When the BIEO officials found that the bail he obtained was only related to the CID case, they arrested him. The Bureau of Investigation, Economic Offences on Saturday, produced him before the court. The court remanded him to 10 days’ BIEO custody.
Meanwhile, it is being alleged that the CID and BIEO officials are bargaining with Barman to secure his release. The CID officials had allegedly given him a royal treatment in the name of investigation.
Barman had started Unipay2u, that claimed to be a Malaysia-based company, in the Northeast in April 2009. He collected crores of rupees from people through his agents with the promise of a 20 per cent return on investments for 10 months. Upto September 2010, he paid returns as promised but after that he started defaulting and many investors filed complaints with the police. As the issue snowballed, the government handed over the investigation of the case to the BIEO. The later cross-examined Barman and some of his agents and registered a case against them in November 2010 but did not arrest them. A preliminary probe by the BIEO revealed that the Unipay2U was collecting deposits from the public without the RBI’s mandatory approval. Even after grilling Barman, the BIEO did not freeze his accounts, seize his passport or arrest him. Meanwhile, the CID had seized his properties at many places of Guwahati.