Heera Gold Scam: A Scam That Shocked Hyderabad

In today’s world, where the biggest scam or fraud cases are registered against prominent business tycoons, people’s credibility and the authenticity of the country’s established institutions are being questioned before the judicial system to prove their worth of owned assets.

The people of Hyderabad are demanding accountability and questioning the credibility of the concerned authorities, while those nefarious entrepreneurs/industrialists are ambiguously released with charges against them dropped, and the constitution of India allowing them the special status to travel anywhere. Thus, they enjoy their life without any fear of getting caught by law enforcement bodies.

Ironically, this year, a few government and private sectors of India have been found guilty of fraud, cheating, and money laundering. A piece of recent news which grabbed the attention of several media news channels and stirred confusion among the people was the PMC (Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank) and the Heera Gold group of companies fraud. In this article, we would be discussing what exactly is happening around the country, unearthing proofs to find the strongest evidence behind the sudden shutting down of money-making machinery. We are determined to figure out the responsibility of the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) in protecting and securing the legal rights of the different firms in detail.

Nowhera Shaik was accused of running the Heera Gold scam amounting to 5000 crores.

The Heera Group of companies is one of those entities, which became famous overnight for its mismanagement of funds invested in gold schemes. Many investors and depositors raised the complaint. Nowhera Shaik had been in the limelight for the past one year in local newspapers, magazine front pages, and on television debate. She was the company’s leading lady and the owner of this huge enterprise; she faced massive criticism, humiliation, and betrayal from her organization’s supporting staff and few other local community members. Several stakeholders accused her of misusing the numerous accounts belonging to them. They were assertive of the company’s botched operations that had defaulted to pay them the invested amount promised to every lender in return. The company had promised about a 36% return on investment compared to a 6.1% interest rate offered by normal Indian banks for a deposit of one lakh rupees.

The Hyderabad Police officials, in collaboration with other investigating departments, arrested Nowhera Shaikh on October 17, 2018. Hence, the hardships began. Till now, it has been reported that a whopping ₹5647 crores have been pumped in for Heera Group of companies from India and foreign countries with 1.75 lakh registered depositors. The worst nightmare happened when Nowhera Shaik decided to enter politics. Unfortunately, she lost the battle without even winning a single seat from her home town. Despite the defeat, she has decided to make a second attempt in the upcoming 2019 Hyderabad 119-seat state election.

This time she has pledged to fight tirelessly for the rights of women and their safety, and the welfare of children. In spite of all her efforts to overcome poverty and bring justice among the deprived communities, her intentions were purposely suppressed by her party workers as they accused her of camaraderie with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). They accused her of contesting the election to favour them.

Innumerable allegations surfaced in the media to defame Nowhera Shaikh and her company Heera Gold. Many top-notch investigations were carried out in this crucial matters for more than a year, monitored by the special CID officers, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad. It has not yet been proved with any concrete evidence that the fingers raised at her by the petitioners in the High court of Hyderabad are justified. There’s no conclusive evidence that could prove she deserves to be behind bars and sentenced to life imprisonment.

It is to be noted that back in March this year, the RBI had canceled the licenses of over 1701 Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC). Under the flagship of Heera Gold, there were about 15 other companies registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), but none of them had full-time authority to run the business from both the governing figures of all-time RBI and SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). The question that arises in the minds of many citizens is, when would the central government and the RBI, in particular, take precautionary rather preliminary steps to control the unethical practices of big shot corporates who are ruining India’s economy? At the end of the day, these people are responsible for the devastating economic conditions when thousands and lakhs of workers are risking their jobs and staying unemployed for days, months or years on end!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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