Thane: Amid the ongoing Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank crisis, another multi-crore scam has hit Maharashtra. Hundreds of customers who had invested in Goodwin Jewellers were in for the shock of their lives, after they found out that the owners AM Sunilkumar and AM Sudheshkumar, have disappeared after losing their money.

The fraud came to light after Goodwin Jewellers shut its outlets in Thane, Palghar and Mumbai region a couple of days before Diwali, leaving hundreds of people, in the lurch. Several people who had kept their gold with the jewellers and invested in their fixed deposit are now coming forward to file complaints against owners of the firm and staging demonstrations.

According to a police official, as of October 29, 69 complaints have been registered for an alleged fraud of Rs.3.87 crore. On Tuesday, Thane police’s economic offences wing (EOW) took over the probe, seeing the seriousness of the case.

The police have issued lookout notices against the company owners and sealed the shops and offices of Goodwin Jewellers.

Meanwhile, following agitation by customers and investors, the owner brothers on Monday released a video on social media wherein they blamed people with vested interest and business rivals for their losses. The jewellery chain owners, who hail from Kerala, told affected customers that their money was “safe” and promised to return it.

The police have booked the owners and shop managers under sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and under relevant sections of Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act.