NEW DELHI: Despite a crackdown by enforcement agencies, cases of chit fund schemes are on the rise as an RBI data shows complaints against Ponzi operators has gone up by nearly 50 per cent in last three years.
Leave aside Saradha, Rose Valley or Stock Guru, there are hundreds of dubious schemes where investors got duped and trapped.
The RBI’s Sachet portal, which is an online platform that facilitates the public to lodge complaints of financial frauds, has received numerous complaints ever since its launch in 2016.
Complaints rose from 1,461 in 2016-17 to 1,683 in 2017-18 and 2,081 in 2018-19. The primary reason for the rise in such cases is the high returns ‘promised’ by such schemes.
In the last three years, the ED has initiated an investigation in 27 cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act related to chit fund and Ponzi schemes.
Moreover, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has ordered an investigation into the affairs of 109 companies allegedly involved in investment scams and has assigned them to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) during the last three years — 47 in 2015-16, 27 in 2016-17, 34 in 2017-18 and 1 in 2018-19.
Similarly, the CBI has registered 166 cases relating to chit fund and Ponzi companies during the last four years (14 in 2015, 23 in 2016, 109 in 2017 and 20 in 2018 up to 30.11.2018).
Till March 2019, a total of 1,288 cases related to unauthorised deposit collection were discussed in State
Level Coordination Committee (SLCC) meetings.
In the just-concluded session, Parliament passed the Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019, which seeks to put in place a mechanism by which poor depositors will get back their money.