Heera Group supremo Nowhera Shaikh had started out as a vegetable hawker years ago before getting arrested in connection with a Ponzi scheme worth over Rs 1500 crore.

Nowhera Shaikh, 45-year-old Heera Group Managing Director, who was arrested by Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) last month for duping investors of close to Rs 500 crore as a burqa-clad single mother ran a multi-state Ponzi scheme till the time she was finally apprehended.

Years ago, anyone who knew her would have never known that assisting her mother as a vegetable hawker in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh back then would go on to own 17 companies with more than 2 lakh investors across South and Western India and have a combined turnover of more than Rs 1,000 crore. Over the years, she gained a degree in business management, established an all-girls madrassa and constituted a party to contest elections in the state of Karnataka.

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She spread her outreach over a period of seven years by the means of a Ponzi scheme that offered 36-42% returns and drew an increasing number of investors. Shaikh, by May 2018, started defaulting on payments that eventually led to funding mismanagement, chaos and subsequent police complaints and thus began her downfall.

As of this date, she remains in Mumbai police’s custody after she was nabbed in Hyderabad under allegations of deceit in connection with the over Rs 500 crore cheating case. A complaint by an investor named Shane Elahi led to her arrest. Most of her investors were from the Muslim community to whom she had promised a halal business, free of any interest. #KhabarLive