SC issues notice on plea seeking probe in ‘India’s biggest franchise scam’

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Union Ministries, Central probe agencies and the Police Commissioners of Delhi, Gurugram, and Noida on a plea seeking probe against Westland Trade Private Limited, in what is alleged to be the biggest franchise scam in India.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, issued notice to all the respondents, including, Union Home Ministry, Union Finance Ministry, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, and Police Commissioners of Delhi, Gurugram and Noida.

The bench was hearing a batch of pleas seeking an investigation by the CBI, ED and SFIO or by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate various offences, including money laundering and black money hoarding by directors and beneficiaries of Westland Trade Pvt Ltd.

The pleas, filed by a group of around 38 petitioners who were represented by lawyers Gopal Shankarnarayan, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, and Ashwani Kumar Dubey and others, claimed they were cheated and duped by Westland Trade Private Limited.

The company took money for running its franchise store in several states and duped about 500 investors, the plea said.

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