Bhubaneswar: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in Bhubaneswar has arrested two individuals from Ranchi, Jharkhand, in connection with a multi-state fraud involving the Vastav India Trust. The accused, Nishant Prakash Jaiswal and Amar Danish were the State Field Officer and Project In-Charge for Vastav India Trust in Odisha.
The case stems from a complaint filed by Sebati Mahanta and others against Vastav India Trust, alleging fraudulent activities by the trust’s office bearers. The accusations pertain to deceiving the public and parents by promising the sale of LED bulbs through a solar awareness program and providing pre-matric scholarships to students, amounting to Rs. 4 crores.
The trust, registered in Ranchi, Jharkhand, established an office in Bhubaneswar in March 2022. The accused individuals launched two programs, “solar awareness” and “pre-matric scholarship,” under the name “Chuuloo Aasman.”
In the solar awareness program, they collected Rs. 1,650 from each applicant as a membership fee, promising LED bulb supplies. The trust’s application form displayed a forged Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India logo to gain public trust.
Under the “Chuuloo Aasman” pre-matric scholarship program, the trust offered a scholarship of Rs. 1,000 per month for up to 24 months, with a one-time deposit of Rs. 3,000 as a membership charge. However, after the initial payment, the trust failed to disburse any further scholarship amounts.
More than 3,500 individuals, including the public and parents, were defrauded of approximately Rs. 4 crore by the trust. The money collected was misappropriated by the trust’s office bearers.
The trust, operating in Odisha, Jharkhand, Delhi, and Bihar, falsely claimed to be engaged in social welfare programs and awareness initiatives. It appointed block coordinators and officials in various districts, despite lacking the authority to collect deposits.
The EOW has alerted the relevant authorities and police in the affected states. During the investigation, it was discovered that significant sums were transferred to the accounts of the arrested individuals, and incriminating documents, fake receipts, trust deeds, ATM cards, and mobile phones were seized. Earlier, the President and Secretary of Vastav India Trust were arrested and remain in custody, while the investigation continues.