If neighbouring West Bengal had one Sudipto Sen to con lakhs of depositors, Odisha has become the breeding ground for one too many, though small in economic scale.
As Odisha grapples with the ever growing tentacles of chit fund and money circulation companies which have gone into the nook and cranny of the State with numerous schemes, the magnitude of their financial mobilisation and investor base is slowly coming to fore.
A status report by the Institutional Finance wing of Finance department puts the total number of depositors in such firms at 6.89 lakh across the State. The investments by these depositors in various companies amount to whopping `4,375 crore.
In the high-profile Saradha Group financial scam, at least 1.4 million investors were duped of about `5,000 crore.
The Finance department assessment is based on the enforcement measures undertaken against such companies in 2012 and 2013 (till June). It all started after simultaneous searches and raids were conducted across the State on May 10 this year by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and the police of different districts against the money circulation schemes and unauthorised chit fund companies. The raids covered 116 companies and as many as 243 cases were registered involving 231 persons.
The EOW, a dedicated unit of the State Government which takes up cases involving ` 1 core and above, is investigating 24 cases involving 19 companies, mostly big and high-profile ones like Seashore and Greenray. That apart, different police stations have registered another 13 cases in the last two years in connection with similar cheating and financial frauds.
“The figures are approximate and tentative in nature and likely to change as more and more investors are coming forward and reporting about the cheating.
It has also been observed that many investors whose names figure in the records of companies have been paid back their principal or maturity amount under normal circumstances and there has not been any complaint from them.
Subsequent to registration of cases, many companies have also started refunding to escape police action or placate investors,” a report from the department pointed out. However, it has been found out that records of many companies are manipulated and unreliable while returns filed with Registrar of Companies is not up-to-date. In many instances, cash transactions have been made and not reflected in accounts. Besides, there are allegations that the invested amount deposited with the company agents are misappropriated by the agents themselves instead of being reported.
* The report stated that efforts are continuing to collect more data for a realistic assessment of the total number of depositors who have been defrauded and total amount of money involved in the cheating.
* The investments by these depositors in various companies amount to whopping `4,375 crore.
* The EOW is investigating 24 cases involving 19 companies, mostly big and high-profile ones like Seashore and Greenray.
* Different police stations have registered another 13 cases in the last two years in connection with similar cheating and financial frauds.
* It has been found out that records of many companies are manipulated and unreliable while returns filed with Registrar of Companies is not up-to-date.