The Singapore-based online survey and market research company – Speak Asia, which ran advertisements during the IPL matches on TV, is now in big trouble. The company organizes online surveys for various products and companies. Their online survey scheme involves users to subscribe to the scheme by paying Rs. 11,000 ($250 USD) and fill up the survey forms. The subscribers are then paid a commission once they have completed the surveys or refer a friend.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Crime Branch on Friday arrested Tarak Bajpai, COO of Speak Asia, and four other officials for financial irregularities and unearthing a multi-crore scam in which over 13 lakh investors have been cheated.
Bajpai stated, “I am going for a small investigation. The management of the company is there to support all Speak Asians. All departments have given us a clean chit and this too is a small investigation. I have stay order from high court to deal with unforeseen problems.”
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The company does not have a registered office in India yet, and no legal documents of the company are available online.
Speak Asia is currently being investigated under Section 591 of the Companies Act, which is applicable to companies incorporated outside India and that have established a place of business within the country.
Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy said, We estimate that until now the company has duped investors of Rs 1,320 crore ($300 million USD). Speak Asia assures its subscribers/investors a return of Rs. 52,000 ($1,181 USD) over an investment of Rs. 11,000. Subscribers are provided with two surveys every week and are paid Rs. 500 ($11.3 USD) upon completing a survey successfully.
Our bank account in Singapore has not been frozenâ€¦ we are only moving our company account to another bank. We are approaching and evaluating various other banks in Singapore from where we will soon be able to disburse the payments to all panellists,Speak Asia said in a statement.