Emu, the flightless Australian bird which is at the centre of swelling fraudulent investment schemes in Tamil Nadu, last estimated to be at least Rs 500 crore, is slowly finding its way to fresh grounds in north India.
The birds are being moved in large numbers to places like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bengal and Orissa.
Even places such as Bangalore and rural Maharashtra, where emus are not new, are seeing new farms opening up.
New investors are being drawn in to these schemes with the same tried and tested model of "get rich quick" promises.
"Every time the ship begins to sink, it moves to a new area. That is how it has survived so many years," said Anand Rangerej, a Bangalore-based farm owner.
Regulators have been silent so far, even after the scam emerged in Tamil Nadu in which several emu farm owners lost their money.
"Either RBI (Reserve Bank of India) or Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) should be responsible for this. Often they take the cover that it was never brought to their notice. It is all over the newspapers. What more notice do you want?" said R Balakrishnan, a former financial services professional and an independent adviser based in Chennai.
Image: An advertisement by Perundurai-based Susi Emu Farms whose Chairman and Managing Director MS Guru as arrested by the Economic Offences Wing Police on September 5 in Coimbatore.
Text: TE Narasimhan and N Sundaresha Subramanian, Business Standard