NEW DELHI, June 17 (RAPSI) – Two of the three Russians who were arrested in Assam, India on suspicion of running a Ponzi scheme, have been delivered to Mumbai and charged.

The third Russian remains in a prison hospital, the Russian Consulate General in New Delhi told RIA Novosti on Monday.

Russian nationals and employees of Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox India (MMM India) Alexei Muratov, Denis Rozhkov, were arrested in late May, along with the firm's representatives in Mumbai – Dinesh Kotian and Rimish Balan, and Nabajit Das, a local agent in Guwahati.

According to the Assam police, the Russians defrauded people via their website, promising them considerable profit in exchange for their investment in a charitable fund.

The jailed Russians then declared a hunger strike. They stopped accepting solid food on May 30 and were soon hospitalized. On June 13, the court ruled that they should be turned over to the Mumbai Economic Offences Wing.

The Guwahati police told RIA Novosti that the three Russians had been charged with criminal collusion, misappropriation of the property of and using fraudulent means to take over others' property.

According to the media, there are five Russians among the 17 defendants in the case. It has been reported that over 70,000 people had invested in the company.

MMM India, which is said to be operating in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, asked people to invest between 5,000 and 50,000 rupees ($90-900).

MMM India says it is neither a company nor a business, but a "mutual aid fund."

Sergey Mavrodi, a former mathematician and computer programmer, set up a pioneering Ponzi scheme in Russia in the early 1990's, which rapidly gained huge popularity among thousands of investors among a population in the Soviet Union with scant previous knowledge of private investment. Investors joining the scheme early on made impressive profits, while those piling in later lost everything, leading to a catastrophe as MMM collapsed.

Mavrodi was arrested in 2003, and was sentenced by a Russian court to four years in jail on fraud-related charges in 2007. But he was released the same year because he had already served most of sentence in pretrial custody.

When freed, Mavrodi re-launched similar schemes, setting up MMM branches in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and elsewhere, with the ambition of "destroying the global financial system," as his website said.