New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Nowhere Shaik of Hyderabad in the middle of election season. Many cases were registered against her in different states, and she had been on the run.

Similar to the Saradha chit fund scam in Bengal, Nowhera was allowed to not only run a Ponzi scheme but was also allowed to start an Islamic university illegally. 

From a vegetable vendor to the owner of an empire worth thousands of crore rupees not only in India but also in the Middle-east, she grew rapidly. Her clout can be judged by the fact that famous leader Asaduddin Owaisi had filed a complaint against her in 2012 and she still managed to evade investigation agencies for seven years. 

Also read – Ponzi scheme: Entrepreneur-politician Nowhera Shaikh arrested in Chittoor

She also managed to successfully fool several politicians in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu who were also linked with her in the Ponzi scheme racket, media reports claim. 

Early life and growth

According to sources in the ED, Nowhera was born to a low-income family hailing from Tirupati. She used to sell vegetables in the local market to feed her family. A class-12 dropout, she first came to light when Owaisi filed a complaint against her for cheating the Muslims of Hyderabad in 2012.

She once again made headlines when she founded an illegal Islamic university in 2013 on land which allegedly belonged to the Tirupati temple.

Her Ponzi scheme

Nowhera floated a company, Heera group, to start the Ponzi scheme. She claimed that easy money could be made by investing in her company, which allegedly imported/smuggled large quantities of gold into India from Dubai and sold it in the local market. 

The company operated as a family concern, with Nowhera Shaikh, her husband Mohammed Sanaullah Qureshi (Salman) and their family members.

The racket

Investigators of ED claim that she, along with others through her company's persons, has collected more than Rs 3000 Crore from 1,72,114 investors across India on the pretext of investment. 

"Deposits were also collected from victims in Hyderabad, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and other states in India and also from NRIs in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Nowhera Shaik opened 24 entities under the Heera Group, and 182 bank accounts in different banks and different countries in the name of these 24 entities. Further, 10 bank accounts were also opened in foreign countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc.," ED claimed.

Also read: Out of Hyderabad’s prison, Nowhera Shaikh booked again by Mumbai Police