Meet Nowhera Shaikh, 44, the founder and Managing Director of Heera Group.
She reportedly owns a BMW car and a flat at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.
There have been two Income Tax raids against her in the past and an investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office.
She has been arrested for allegedly cheating nearly 150 people from Mumbai and surrounding areas. She is accused of duping investors to the tune of Rs 500 crore. Her 50 bank accounts in various banks have been frozen.
During the course of the investigations and her interrogation several facts of the matter have come out.
The Case so far….
Shaikh is the eldest of the seven children of a Tirupati fruit exporter. In 2007, She was married to a Hyderabad resident named Salman Qureshi. They were later divorced in 2014.
Though she did not clear Class X Board exam, she has a degree from an open university in Colombo, reportedly acquired online.
Shaikh used to teach at madrassas in Tirupati which helped her develop social connections. Subsequently, she along with other ladies began buying and selling gold in the late-1990s which took the basic shape of her upcoming business. Shaikh especially chose Muslim community investors for fund deposits, promising them “interest-free, halaal” investment, as allowed by Islam. Interest in most forms is not permitted by Islam.
Salim Ansari was one of her several agents in Mumbai working for her in the city. So the number of investors must be quite high. Nearly 20,000 people had put in money through him, it is learnt.
Shaikh paid out the dividends regularly for nearly 10 years initially, but defaults on payments started since early 2017 and by early 2018 she stopped paying monthly dividends. In May 2017, she issued a circular to her investors, stating that she will pay quarterly dividends, which she managed for some time. But even the quarterly payments stopped after some time, which the investors did not like.
More than 150 people from Mumbai and Thane have approached the police. Complaints against Shaikh, and FIRs have been registered against her at several police stations across the country. One of her agents, Salim Ansari, has also been named in the FIR. She has been arrested on October 26 after an FIR was registered against her at Pydhonie police station.
Nearly 15 companies had been formed, named Heera after herself, with Shaikh as director, since 2010. These include Heera Gold, Heera Textile and others, in sectors such as construction, groceries, and tours and travels.
Citing the impact of demonetisation, carried out in November 2016, and then implementation of the GST regime in July 2017, she has told investigators that the losses she suffered rendered her unable to pay dividends on investments made by people. Shaikh talks confidently and asks investigators to check her bank statements and prior investigations if they do not believe her.
Shaikh is currently in the custody of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), which is investigating further her operations.