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CBI probing ponzi schemes in the tune of Rs85k crore: Agency chief

CBI probing ponzi schemes in the tune of Rs85k crore: Agency chief
CBI is probing cases of ponzi schemes in which over Rs 85,000 crore of over six crore investors are involved and it is assisting the Centre in framing a legislation to put a ban on such deposit-taking activities, agency Chief Anil Sinha said here on Friday.

“CBI alone is investigating cases in which more than six crore investors/victims spread across 26 states involving Rs 85,000 crores of public money. There are hundreds of criminal cases with state police and EOWs,” he said at the valedictory session of 22nd Conference of CBI and Anti-Corruption Bureaux of states.

He also said the scope and reach of these fraudulent entities coming out with nefarious schemes to induce gullible public to invest in their dubious schemes is bewildering.

Earlier, during a conference in Mumbai in March, Sinha had said that the agency was investigating Ponzi schemes involving funds of over Rs 1.20 lakh crore.

Officials in CBI claimed that figures often change because of allegations and later its cross verifications during the investigations.

Sinha said CBI was part of the sub-group of an Inter- Ministerial Group for identifying gaps in the existing legal and regulatory framework for “deposit-taking” activities and to suggestadministrative/legislative measures including formulation of a new law, to cover all relevant aspects of deposit-taking.

“As we are all aware, a comprehensive central law titled the ‘Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes and Protection of Depositors’ Interests Bill, 2016’ is on the anvil,” he said.

The CBI chief said the government has announced in the 2016-17 budget that it proposes to bring in a comprehensive central legislation to deal with the menace of unauthorised deposit-taking scheme.
Sinha said the conference resolved that early enactment of the proposed central law which bans and criminalises all unregulated deposits with provisions for attachment and confiscation of proceeds of crime to refund the depositors will go a long way in curbing the menace.

“The conference also resolved that the early establishment of a ‘National Intelligence Mechanism’, as recommended by the Inter-Ministerial Group, would ensure timely collection and dissemination of the intelligence to prevent exploitation through such dubious ponzi schemes. 

The Summary of the deliberations would be forwarded to Department of Financial Services,” Sinha said.

In another important step, CBI will soon write to the Centre for setting up an all stop call-centre for reporting corruption by citizens, Sinha said. The CBI, which proposed the issue in the conference, got a green signal with the congregation resolving that the agency can proceed with the complaint centre for central government ministries, public sector undertakings and Union Territories.

“I am happy to share that the conference resolved that the CBI with the assistance of government may set up a National Anti-Corruption Citizen Support Centre for lodging Corruption related complaints pertaining to Ministries/ Departments and PSUs of the government of India and the Union Territories.

“Very soon we will be writing to the state governments to join the initiative. States with similar systems in existence can be integrated with this new initiative and made interoperable, if the state so desires,” Sinha said.

He added technology-enabled, secure platform effectively will engage citizen and empower them with a tool to report fearlessly against corruption.
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