Free Press Journal

72 cases registered by CBI against ponzi schemes in last 3 yrs


New Delhi: The CBI has registered 72 cases, including one preliminary enquiry, related to ponzi schemes during the last three years, the government said today. Three cases were registered in 2015 (till June 30) while 62 were registered in 2013. The central probe agency had registered seven such cases in 2013.

The information was given by Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha in a written reply to Rajya Sabha. According to RBI, ponzi schemes are not under its regulatory preview and also it has not come across any such scheme floated by NBFC registered with the central bank, he said further.

“Further, the words ‘ponzi schemes’ are not defined in law in India. However, the regulators have been receiving complaints about entities collecting money from public allegedly in violation of law,” Sinha said.

Sinha also said the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has assigned 139 cases pertaining to the so called ‘chit fund’ companies to Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) for investigation. “Investigations reveal that these companies were operating mostly in the Eastern and North-Eastern States of the country and had intensive network of branches spread across these states,” Sinha said.

To quicken the investigation process, Computer Forensic Lab has been set up in SFIO for analysing the database of companies under probe, he added. Further, Sinha said a high level Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) has been constituted for identifying gaps in the existing regulatory framework for deposit taking activities.

The IMG has also been tasked to suggest administrative/ legislative measures including formulation of a new law to cover all relevant aspects of ‘deposit taking’. A typical ponzi scheme involves the operator collecting a large amount of money from investors and paying them returns from their own pockets or the money collected from subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the person or the entity operating such a scheme.