The Hyderabad Central Crime Station police has filed a petition seeking 14-day police custody of entrepreneur-politician and Managing Director of Heera Gold, Nowhera Shaikh. Shaikh was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly cheating several stakeholders belonging to the Muslim community, who invested in her firm. According to latest reports, police have reportedly found out that the turnover of her business increased from Rs 27 lakh between 2010-11 to Rs 800 crore in 2017-18.
Who is Nowhera and how did her business flourish?
According to Sakshi, Nowhera hails from Tirupati, her parents were vegetable sellers. Though she had not completed school, she has a prefix of ‚ÄėDr'. She recently settled down at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad. She started her venture Heera Group of Companies by collecting deposits in 2010. She promised the investors that they would get 36% interest per year for every 1 lakh rupees they invest. She initially gave the promised money to the investors, only to allegedly cheat them later.
Nowhera, later expanded her business to several countries and states and cheated investors following the same modus operandi, before any enforcement agency could suspect a scam. To evade suspicion, she had floated 15 companies under different names and cheated investors estimated to the tune of Rs 1000 crores, according to Hyderabad police.
"Many of the companies are involved in collection of deposits and investment in different modes of gold scheme from public, where there companies commit a return of around 36% per annum for the invested amount. While exact number of investors, depositors is not known because the companies have not disclosed complete information before the Police,‚ÄĚ said Hyderabad police in a press release.
Nowhera has her business in several countries like China, Canada, Dubai and states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. However, she rose to prominence after she formed a political party‚ÄĒAll India Mahila Empowerment Party and contested in the recently held Karnataka elections.
How did she come under the scanner of CCS?
The Central Crime Station in Hyderabad had put Nowhera and her company under vigilance in 2012 after receiving several complaints of cheating. The complaint was filed by none other than All India Masjlis-e- Ittehadul-Muslimeen president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi. However, she evaded the arrest after procuring an anticipatory bail. On 10 September, Farzanaunissa Mohammad Khaja filed a case with the the Banjara Hills police station, Hyderabad, according to Money Life.
In the complaint, Khaja had alleged that her husband invested Rs 25 lakh in Heera Retail Hyderabad Pvt Ltd, but the company had refused to return her money. The company had promised to share profit once in three months, but that never happened. People did not get the interest and not the principal amount back.
This case under Section 406, 420 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 5 of the Telangana Deposit of Financial Establishments Act was later transferred to the CCS. The CCS then issued summons to Nowhera and asked her to furnish documents of her company which she declined and went absconding.
Floating her party
While the Hyderabad police were carrying out their investigation, Nowhera entered politics by floating a new party‚ÄĒAll India Mahila Empowerment Party‚ÄĒjust four months before the Karnataka elections, under the banner of 'justice for humanity'. This party with ‚Äėdiamond‚Äô as its party symbol contested in 221 out of 225 seats which raised eyebrows about its finance.
The Hyderabad police had issued a look out notice after she absconded. They arrested Nowhera from New Delhi four days ago, and brought her to the city after getting a transit order from the local court.