The Supreme Court has stayed proceedings in all the 19 FIRs filed against QNet direct selling company across the country while granting bail to former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira and another official of the firm’s India franchise in a cheating case.
Ferreira and Malckolm Noser Desai of Vihaan Pvt Ltd were arrested six months ago for allegedly running ponzi schemes and violating laws in India.
A bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton Fali Nariman said for the grounds stated in the petition of the duo, there shall be stay of further proceedings in all the 19 FIRs.
They had surrendered before a trial court in Mumbai after the apex court in September 2016 had refused to grant them anticipatory bail.
Granting them relief, the bench said, “Having regard to the fact that the petitioner 2 and 3 before us viz., Michael Joseph Ferriera and Malckolm Nozer Desai are detained in jail custody for about 6 months, they are directed to be released on bail, subject to certain conditions.”
The court asked them to furnish bail bonds of Rs. 25,000 each with two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court concerned.
It also asked them to mark their presence at the police station concerned and submit their residential address to the trial court. They have been asked not to change their residence without the permission of the trial court.
The bench also asked them to deposit their passport to the trial court and cooperate with the investigation.
According to a statement issued by QNet in Mumbai, the petition contended that the business model followed by Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd is not a money circulation scheme as alleged and does not fall under the purview of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation (Banning) Act, 1978.
The company also said it has been also argued that Vihaan’s business complied with all legal requirements of conducting business in India.
Raj Vasudevan, Chief Legal Officer of QNet, said, “This order is a vindication we have been seeking for more than 3 long years. It has come at a very apt time when the government is trying to instil confidence in this industry with the introduction of Model Direct Selling Guidelines.”