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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Fraud net extends to UP
- Allegations mount against Calcutta-based company

A day after city police stumbled upon a scam in which about 65,000 people of Calcutta and Howrah were cheated of crores of rupees by Norton Marketing Private Limited, officers of the detective department claimed that the company had deceived several people in Uttar Pradesh.

The revelation came after the department received many complaints from investors in Varanasi. The complainants claimed that the company had promised high returns and quality goods against an initial deposit of Rs 500. Besides, they were assured gifts in the form of cars, motorcycles and scooters. The victims confessed to being lured by the high rates of return quoted by the firm.

'The company's Varanasi unit was not the only one outside the city. It is our guess that Norton had set up several other branches. But the details will be available only over a period of time, as our investigation progresses,' said city detective chief Gyanwant Singh.

Officers of the special cell of the detective department investigating the scam stated that several hundreds from the city and Dobson Lane in Howrah called up on Wednesday to lodge their complaints against the agency.

The complainants said they had no clue of what was in store till they found that the products being offered in exchange of the initial deposit were inferior in quality. The items on sale ranged from tea leaves to radio sets and cosmetic products.

The fraud came to light after Kanhiya Kumar Shaw lodged a complaint with Park Street police station, claiming that Norton had cheated him of Rs 1.28 lakh. Shaw further alleged that several others had been duped.

The cops probing the case arrested four persons in the city and Howrah in this connection. They soon realised that the scam extended beyond the city limits.

Investigation has revealed that besides becoming a member by making an initial deposit of Rs 500, customers had to get nine more people to qualify for the gifts.

To inspire confidence among the investors, the company had used certificates with a forged Reserve Bank of India seal authorising them to carry on such business. A large number of forged documents were recovered from the company's office on CIT Road.

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