New Delhi: U.S.-based direct-selling major Amway President Doug DeVos has sought the intervention of the Narendra Modi government for the release of the company’s India head William Scott Pinckney, while asking to “restore confidence in India’s investment potential”.
The company also wants clear guidelines for direct sellers in India to avoid such arrests in the future.
Mr. Pinckney was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police last month in connection with a criminal case filed against the company and remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a court in Kurnool district. It faces nine criminal cases in the state.
“We understand that the new Union government in New Delhi played no role in this police action and hope they will help in the immediate release of Bill (Pinckney) so he can quickly and safely return to his family,” Mr. DeVos said in a video message for the Indian market.
He further said: “We also ask for them (Central Government) to assist us in moving to resolve this situation and restore confidence in India’s investment potential and we ask for this to happen quickly.”
Condemning the arrest, Mr. DeVos said, “We are fully cooperating with all investigations and requests from authorities in India and will continue to do so. To continue with this detention when we have worked to be entirely transparent about our business is unnecessary and unreasonable.” Last year, Mr. Pinckney was arrested by the Kerala Police along with two company directors on charges of alleged financial irregularities under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.
The Indian Direct Selling Association has requested the government to amend the act by inserting the definition of pyramid marketing schemes to identify a product-based money circulation scheme and to differentiate it from the business of direct selling and their incentive structure.
Reiterating the demand of direct sellers for a proper policy for the sector, Mr. DeVos said: “Ultimately, our goal is to find the solutions that prevent events like this from ever happening. We want to operate under clear guidelines that enable us to continue to contribute to the growing prosperity of Indian citizens and the country as a whole.” He said the company is committed to the Indian market.
“Despite the challenging market conditions, we remain committed to doing business in India...We will continue to expand our investments in India, including the new $100 million manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu,” Mr. DeVos said.
Stating that the company is committed to 500 employees and hundred of thousands of distributors in India who have built ‘legitimate business’ by selling its products, he said, “It’s what we have been doing in India since 1998 and it’s what we intend to do for generations to come.”