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Bhavana, Maheep in quest for gold

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    By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Star wives have long been accused of doing nothing, but this motley bunch puts that notion to rest.

    Bhavana Pandey (Chunky's wife), Mehr Jessia (Arjun Rampal's wife), Tanya Deol (Bobby's wife) and Maheep Kapoor (Sanjay's wife) have joined hands in business - to sell Questnet's gold coins.

    Crores in profit

    Says a friend, who was present when Bhavana and Maheep were making the presentation at Bhavana's home a few weeks ago, "The scheme scheme requires every member to sell limited edition gold coins, embossed with religious images like that of the Pope. Each person can buy up to three such coins, which cost Rs 8,000 each - but they sell them for Rs 25,000!"

    Is it a money-spinner? "They told me, 'when you buy a coin, you have to go looking for another buyer. Each time you sell a coin, you get a commission.

    This scheme has the potential to earn you Rs 3.54 crore a year, just sitting at home'. According to Maheep and Bhavana, Finance Minister P Chidambaram's wife, too, is on board in this scheme."

    Shahrukh's wife, Gauri Khan, is also said to be involved in the scheme.

    No samples

    "When my friend asked to see one coin, she did not even have it. Bhavana said the coin takes three weeks to get delivered. My friend found it funny that one is expected to buy gold, or anything for that matter, without even seeing it."

    What worried our source was, "If Mrs Chidambaram is involved, why doesn't this have the RBI and the Indian government's sanction? Or does the finance minister need socialites and star wives to sell gold coins to the nation?"

    We contacted, Bhavana who said, "I have been in this venture for the last two months, and find it very interesting. It's called referral marketing, where one person can refer two people to the scheme.

    To be a part, you have to buy one limited edition coin, worth Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000.

    A friend of mine took Mehr and me for a presentation, and we have been doing it since then. Questnet has everything in white - payment is through demand draft or cheques, and everything is legal and above board. Mrs Chidambaram, the finance minister's wife, is the legal advisor on the board. It has the government of India's sanction, as everything is taxed, and there are no cash dealings.

    High-profile people like Michael Ferreira and Mahesh Bhupati are also part of it."

    Extra money

    Says Maheep, "It's a sure-shot way of making extra money, and who doesn't like that? It doesn't take up all my time and keeps the cheques coming in. I can concentrate on my jewellery line and devote time to my two babies.

    Another reason I love doing this, is because I am having a blast getting together with my girlfriends - Tanya, Bhavana, Mehr and Seema (Sohail Khan's wife), who are all part of the programme. It's a commission- based income. No one is forcing a product down anybody's throat."

    Chunky was initially against the scheme, informs Bhavana. "'No way are you getting involved in this', Chunky told me, so I went for the first presentation with a closed mind.

    But I found that it's not a bunch of bored housewives or star wives doing something flaky. In fact, all of us are working women.

    One has to check the accounts through the computers; it's about understanding financial structures and following your own virtual office. It's not something anyone and everyone can do."

    Gauri may be in soon

    "Questnet is connected to charitable organisations and temple trusts, like Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, Siddhivinayak Temple and Tirupati Balaji temple trust, who allow the faces of their deities to be imprinted on the coins," says Bhavana Pandey.

    "I have three coins with the faces of Pope John Paul II, Holy Kaba and Lakshmi, from the Mahalakshmi Kuber Trust in Chennai. The coins are minted at Miles Mint in Germany, with 9.999 per cent clarity (24 karat), and each comes with a certificate. This is a good investment."

    Is Gauri Khan also a member? "Not yet, but she might be joining us soon," informs Bhavana.

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