CBI closes PMO case against misuse of Narendra Modi's name to dupe unsuspecting citizens with fraudulent schemes

New Delhi: The move by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to initiate action against the misuse of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name to dupe unsuspecting citizens in the name of a loan scheme has come to naught, with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filing a closure report on the FIR lodged on 25 October, 2017. Joint Deputy Director in the PMO Pritendra Kumar had filed a complaint with the CBI on 6 December, 2016, informing the premier investigative agency that a Bengaluru-based group was promoting an alleged money-lending business in the guise of a prime minister's scheme.

The PMO had taken an umbrage to an advertisement published in the Hindustan Times on 11 July, 2016, offering loans under the "Pradhan Mantri Jan Kalyan Yojna" without any file charge, guarantor, collateral or mark sheet to people across the spectrum. The loan was being offered with 40 percent rebate in repayment, 0 percent interest and at the doorstep of the borrower within 12 hours.

The PMO sprang into action by dispatching a letter to the CBI alleging that the scheme was fake and a sham.

Narendra Modi

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

"This appears to be a clear case of forgery/impersonation wherein the name of the prime minister has been misused. Accordingly, the CBI is requested to lodge a complaint to initiate an investigation as per the law," read the PMO complaint signed by the joint deputy director.

The advertisement issued in the name of SatyamGroup and contained toll free number and website URL. According to sources, the website’s server was based in the US and after the CBI looked into it, it was taken offline. The domain name too was disabled and at the time of writing, it is up for sale.

The PMO had taken the matter seriously since scamsters take advantage of the government's welfare schemes in a bid to dupe citizens. Once gullible citizens get trapped in their net, such groups of organised crime demand money in the name of processing fee for loans. In this case, the target was a popular social welfare scheme.

The CBI's policy division had forwarded the complaint to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and the zonal office for necessary action on 9 December, 2016. But the agency took almost 10 months to file an FIR in the case against unknown persons, charging them with criminal conspiracy and cheating. However, after more than a year, the investigators decided not to pursue the case and filed a closure report.

On a notice by the trial court seeking objections, if any, on ending the investigation, the complainant in the PMO, on 12 December, 2018, firmly stated that he would not protest the closure report. The court is likely take a final call on 27 March, 2019, on whether to accept the closure report, or proceed with the case.

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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2019 16:42:57 IST

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