Heera Gold Chairman Nowhera Sheikh under Police custody; Investors panic
Dubai: Hundreds of investors in the UAE are believed to have been affected by the Heera Group ponzi scam which has left a trail of devastated lives across India and the Middle East. Heera Group was offering 35% returns on investment.
45 Year old, single mother, Nowhera Sheikh was arrested on 25th October by a special unit of Mumbai police called Economic Offences Wing. She is the founder and CEO of Heera Group which is an association of several companies. She is also a politician & founder of All India Mahila Empowerment Party. Once a vegetable vendor, she has 17 companies worth Rs 1000 crore turnover, with around 2 lakh investors whole around the country and the Middle East under her realm. She was taken into custody by Mumbai police following a complaint on October 25 by an investor named Shane Elahi.
Thou she started off as a vegetable vendor alongside her mother in the southern city of Tirupati during her teens, she expanded her business expertise into buying & selling of used clothes and then venturing into trading of gold. Later on, using a Ponzi scheme she offered 36% – 42% returns of investment to her investors. Her investors mainly belonged from the Muslim community. She lured investors by her fancy Ponzi scheme which promised “interest-free halal business”.Her office and agents spread across Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh drew in more and more investors. Her downfalls can also be attributed to her success. In the process of luring the people, she started defaulting the payments. This in-turn created chaos and mismanagement of the funds and paved way for police complaints against her. Today she has been charged with Rs 500 Crore cheating case and is under the custody of the Mumbai police after she was apprehended in Hyderabad.
On October 16, the arrest of an entrepreneur-cum-politician in India has sparked panic. Dr Aalima Nowhera Shaik, the chairperson of Heera Group, was taken into custody in Hyderabad on Tuesday afternoon after investors took to the street in the city demanding that they get their money back.
One of the investors in the UAE said that the company told them they will invest the money in gold and textile and give them monthly profits. They joined the company sometime back by investing Dh100,000. Initially, they paid investors around Dh3,000 monthly but soon the payments dried out.
In a statement, Hyderabad Police said, “Central Crime Station (CCS) has taken up an investigation, recorded statements of various stakeholders and other victims and collected evidence from different sources and found substantial incriminating evidence against Ms Shaik. Based on available evidence, Ms Shaik was arrested on 15th October at New Delhi and brought to Hyderabad on transit remand.”
Hyderabad Police has identified more than 160 bank accounts of Heera group from across India and is seeking more details from the banks. The Police says, “Different properties have been identified and necessary action under the Telangana Deposits of Financial Establishment Act, 1999 and the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, are under consideration.”
The Heera Group began its operations in 2010 and since then, claims to have created 25 legal entities. Of these, only 10 were found to be registered on the registrar of companies (ROC), Hyderabad and only four are found to have filed balance sheets (FY2012-13), which are being analysed. It is not registered under FCRA, says a government source.