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Ponzi Scheme Ad In Magazine: Hc Says Editor Not Liable For Cheating | Mumbai News – Times of India



MUMBAI: In a relief for the former editor of a community magazine, Bombay high court quashed an FIR filed against him for cheating just because the magazine had published advertisements of a Ponzi scheme.
“The necessary ingredients of the offence punishable under section 420 of IPC viz cheating by inducing the complainant to make deposits cannot be inferred on the basis of publication of an advertisement in the magazine of which he was an editor,” said Justices Nitin Sambre and R N Laddha in a July order. The April 28, 2014 FIR was filed against Dombivli resident Somnath Kasatkar (68) who was booked alongwith Satish and Sandhya Shekatkar.
From 2002-3 and 2009-12, Kasatkar held the honorary position of editor of Swakul Samachar, a magazine published by the Swakul Sali community. The Shekatkars had issued advertisements of Shree Jiveshwar Investment Company and offered huge interests and schemes to double investments.
Chandrakant Aakadkar invested Rs 6.7 lakh between 2004 till 2012. His complaint said Kasatkar published the advertisement without verifying its genuineness. Kasatkar’s advocate Hemant Kenjalkar argued that at this rate all editors will be arrested for publishing advertisements.
The judges said Shekatkars allegedly managed the investment business and Kasatkar was impleaded only due to publication of advertisement in response to which Aakadkar made deposits. “The fact remains that having come across the advertisement, respondent (Aakadkar) made deposits way back in 2005 and got substantial returns and therefore he increased his deposits. As such, it cannot be said that the petitioner has any mens rea (intention or knowledge of wrongdoing) in commission of offence of cheating as he has merely published advertisement of such investment firm that too in community magazine,’’ they said. Also, it cannot be said Kasatkar had induced Aakadkar to make deposits and cheated him by promising high returns.
Referring to Supreme Court guidelines as to when an FIR can be quashed, the judges said prosecution initiated against Kasatkar is “not sustainable” and no offence as alleged can be inferred against him. They clarified that the FIR was quashed only for Kasatkar.



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