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Economic Offences Wing struggles with Scams of 12,000 crore

EOW struggles with frauds of 12,000 crore
Written by Ak Sharma

Mumbai: Have a glance of these three fraud cases registered with economic offence wing (EOW):

MMM India: Rs. 2,000 crores

SpeakAsia fraud: Rs. 2,276 crores

NSEL: Rs. 5,600 crores

Total pending cases with EOW involves Rs. 12,395 crores, and due to shortage of manpower these cases are struck in court proceedings. For its 11 units EOW has 76 police officers and 174 constables. An EOW officer stated “In a single case, we have to record the statement of hundreds of people (in ponzy schems/double the money scheme etc), making seizure, conducting raids, sending the evidence for forensic audit and analysis, etc. the staff shortage delays the investigation”. Each officer is currently handling 10 cases each.

It’s not that EOW has not reached the state law and judiciary department for this issue; in 2012 the city police commissioner had sent a proposal to the state Law and Judiciary department recommending setting up a special court to try the EOW cases. However, the proposal was lying with the state for over a year. Last month, a reminder has again been sent to the state about the recommendation.

Need is increasing:

An officer adds,” Now a day, people are falling prey to the ponzy schemes and have become greedy. They want their money to be doubled overnight and hence they invest randomly. We have found there are victims who have invested in three to four ‘double the money’ schemes at a time”, just for an example in SpeakAsia case, there were more than 24 lakhs investors. There is only one officer who is suffering to make ends meet and is juggling between filing charge sheet against more than one and half a dozen accused.

As the number of frauds is increasing there is greater need of officers to investigate the cases. “When it comes to bigger investigations where more manpower is required, we have to take help from sister agencies since our manpower is very less,” the officer added. There are over 400 cases which are still under the investigation.

How fraudulent schemes work:

A fraudulent company comes with a scheme. People are lured. The money collected is used to compensate the initial investors. As people start getting money, more people invest. As money is collected from new investors, commissions are paid from their kitty to those who joined earlier. The older investors start showing cheques they received to the new investors and prospective ones, boosting confidence in the scheme. Investors start getting friends and relatives into the scheme. Once a huge amount is collected, the founders shut shop and flee.

Some examples which are under probe:

Masood Ahmed | City Limousine | Promised investors 50% return per year

Ravindra and Vasuda Deshmukh | Aryarup Travel and Club Resort| Promised investors 86% return per year and commission if they brought in others

Sandeep Shukla | Aurum Realty, Yes Cube Infrastructure, Bristal Builders and Developers | Promised investors 75-100% return per year

MMM india case: In June this year, EOW registered a cheating and criminal conspiracy case against a firm, MMMindia for allegedly duping more than 70,000 people of nearly Rs 2,000 crore. The FIR names more than 17 people, including five foreigners, as accused. While the foreigners, all Russian nationals, include promoters Sergey Mavrodi, Alexei Muratov, Michel Glukhov and Kilin Adery, the other accused are Indian nationals. Mavrodi is a convict in Russia in a multi-level marketing fraud, the police said.

Speakasia fraud: The Company duped investors to the tune of Rs 2,276 crore. SpeakAsia had promised to pay Rs 52,000 as returns on successful completion of surveys in a year. The fee (or investment) for this was Rs 11,000. There are more than 24 lakh members/panelists for this firm.

So it’s apparent that the situation is acute and EOW is incapable to handle the number of cases it’s getting at the present condition, state is also aware of this but nothing is done yet. Common man is helpless; the best thing he can do is to not fall for schemes which offer to double their money with some magic in a short period of time.

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