Mumbai: Hong Kong-based multi-level marketing company QNET, allegedly involved in Rs 425-crore financial fraud, today filed an appeal in a sessions court here challenging a lower court order which had blocked its websites.
The appeal would come up for hearing by May 31, court sources said.
On a plea made by Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police, a city Magistrate had on May 3 issued an order asking Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) of Information and Technology Department of the Union Government to block the websites/servers of the company.
Accordingly, the CERT blocked these websites which were allegedly indulging in online illegal money circulation schemes. Being aggrieved, QNET filed an appeal in the sessions court.
The EOW had alleged that the websites of QNET induced the people to jump into money circulation scheme and thus they got cheated by way of selling various products. The EOW had arrested nine team leaders of QNET for allegedly duping investors by offering to sell products like magnetic disks, herbal products and holiday schemes through fraudulent practices. However, they were released on bail later.
QNET has also been accused of using the banned binary pyramid business model for their multi-level marketing schemes to entice investors. The accused have been charged with cheating and forgery under relevant sections of the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978. QNET contended in the appeal that it used its websites -- www.qnet.net, www.questnet.net and www.qnetindia.in—as their “e-commerce” platform to sell various products.
The company said that without hearing them or giving them an opportunity to plead its case, the Magistrate passed the impugned order asking the authorities to block websites.
QNET argued that it was engaged in e-commerce and hence its websites is their blood line. The EOW want to block their website to stop the blood line and bring the company business to collapse before proving the allegations levelled against them in the FIR registered in August last year.
The company said it was engaged in a lawful business of direct marketing of various products using “e-commerce” platform by word of mouth publicity.
Any customer having grievance about quality or quantity of the products can approach the customer grievance cell of the company, QNET said and described the allegations as baseless.
Former World Billiards Champion Michael Ferreira was also questions on several occasions in connection with the case registered against the controversial firm. Bollywood actor Boman Irani's son Danesh was also found to be associated with the firm following which police froze his bank account, blocking his Rs 25 lakh. The EOW has also issued look out notice against QNET founder Vijay Eswaran and his three business associates.