Multilevel Marketing Scam: How Indus Viva cheated 10L people in India

The firm was running a money circulation scheme and had cheated over 10 lakh people to the tune of Rs. 1,500 crore.

By Sumit Jha  Published on  9 March 2021 7:40 AM GMT
Multilevel Marketing Scam: How Indus Viva cheated 10L people in India

Hyderabad: Cyberabad police busted a fake multilevel marketing scheme and arrested 24 persons including the CEO and COO of Indus Viva Health Sciences Pvt. Ltd.

The firm was running a money circulation scheme and had cheated over 10 lakh people to the tune of Rs. 1,500 crore. Police also froze accounts of different officials of Bengaluru -based Indus Viva Health Sciences Pvt. Ltd containing Rs 20 crore.

What type of company is Indus Viva and how they lured people.

On its website, Indus Viva says they are a direct selling company with a primary focus on Advanced Ayurvedic products. "We are based in India, a country that has always enjoyed a pioneer status in the arena of health and wellness, throughout the history of humankind. Advanced Ayurveda is where our focus lies, where we attempt to maximize the efficiency of the ancient medicinal art of Ayurveda with the help of modern scientific advancements," reads the company's bio on its website.

According to the company, they sell the products like iPulse, an essential antioxidant-based rich multi-fruit blend juice that supports restorative powers, supercharges health, and assists in delaying premature aging. iCoffee, an ayurvedic herb proven to reduce and balance blood sugar levels due to the rich amount of polyphenols and mangiferin present in it.

iGlow, a skin wellness supplement infused with time-tested and scientifically validated herbal extract of saffron, natural plant collagen, kojic acid, licorice, lutein, coQ10, and other antioxidant fruits. iSlim, a unique, natural bar formulation that is designed specifically for weight management.

However, according to Cyberabad police, the products promoted by Indus Viva are manufactured by Olive Health Sciences Pvt. Ltd at Bengaluru. None of the products have certification from any government agency and the company has no permission to manufacture them, police said.

Multi-Level Marketing Scheme

The company flaunts on its website that it's a network marketing company. The company says that a person can start with Indus Viva as a part-timer, and once his or her income crosses monthly salary, which is bound to happen, he or she can do the business on a full-time basis. "You do not have to worry about any other investments other than the working capital. We do not ask for any kind of previous business experience, as we intend to be a part of your," reads the website.

The company also manipulates the customer by using the context of the consumer protection act of 2019. "Direct Selling has a history of 26 years in India and the consumer protection act of 2019 made Multilevel Marketing a valid economic activity in the country. The reports jointly prepared by FICCI and KPMG, and revealed by the late Ram Vilas Paswan, the former Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution prove that in India, the direct selling industry is currently estimated to be worth around Rs 7,500 crores and has the potential to reach a size of Rs 64,500 crores by 2025. Hence, without a doubt, the future of the Direct Selling Industry is stable and predictable," reads the company website.

Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar said promoting products is one way of expanding the business and enrolling new members is another way of doing so." One can join the schemes by paying Rs 12,500 or Rs 1 lakh each and earn incentives based on enrollments and product promotion," he said.

According to the scheme, if the company reached the 12th level of enrollment, the entire population of India would be its members and at 13th level, all countries in the Asian continent would be its members.

The Scam

On February 20, 2021, Gachibowli police station received a complaint from a person who was cheated by the company. The complainant had invested Rs. 12,500 in the company through his promoters Hari Prasad and Rajabanoth. However, the complainant did not receive any commission on his investment as promised by the promoters.

In order to become a member of Indus Viva Health Sciences Pvt. Ltd, a person has to pay Rs. 12,500 and buy the company's products. They will be awarded 100 Point Value. Then he or she will be issued a user ID and password to continue the scheme. Now, the member has to bring in new members - one person to the left and one person to the right - by paying Rs. 12,500 each. Then he or she will earn Rs. 1,000 as a bonus. But in order to get these benefits, the member (who has already joined the scheme) has to enroll two other members in the scheme within a week. The member has to enroll more persons to earn more money.

The company has several such schemes including President Club Member Plan where a person can become a member by paying Rs. 1, 50,000. A member is given an incentive depending on the number of persons he or she has enrolled. For example, a member who refers 4,000 members gets a one-week trip to South Africa, while one who refers 10,000 members gets a Mercedes Benz and a one-week trip to the US.

The arrested persons include the CEO of Indus Viva Abhilash Thomas, 40, COO Prem Kumar, 39, director of the firm Mandalanen Subramanyam, 57, vice-president Imdadulla Shariff, 41, and distributors C.K Sujid,33, Noor Mohammed, 33, Mulugu Venkatesh, 45, and Maale Ranga Reddy, 47. These persons were booked under sections 406, 420 of the IPC and 4,5,6 r/w 3, 2(C) of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act-1978.

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