Can Odisha ensure refund to investors the TN way?
Bhubaneswar: Armed with President’s assent to the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishment) -2011 Bill, though the Odisha government is reportedly working to frame rules on the lines of an existing similar Act in Tamil Nadu to ensure refund to investors, many are still waiting breathlessly whether the to-be-framed Act will come to their rescue.
The official website of Tamil Nadu Economic Offences Wing (EOW) under its “Important Conviction” list states that in 30 various financial fraud cases, at least 40 persons have been convicted in the past 13 years under TNPID (Tamil Nadu Protection of Depositors (Financial Establishments) Act- 1997 for duping gullible investors to the tune of above Rs 10 crore.
Case-I: Accused Mugunthan was convicted and sentenced to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.69,00,000/- for cheating 93 depositors to a tune of Rs. 1,61,00,000/- under Maruthi Finance company. (Chennai EOW-II Cr.No 08/2000 U/s 5 0f TNPID Act)
Case II: Three accused Periyadurai, Chinnadurai & Devaraj were sentenced to undergo RI for 5 years and fined Rs.49,80,000/- by the Special Court, TNPID, Chennai in 2005. The accused had cheated 126 depositors of Rs. 79,12,330/- under Andavar Finance. (Coimbatore EOW-II Cr.No 14/1999 U/s 5 0f TNPID Act)
Case III: Sree Ramakrishna Funds had cheated 68 depositors of Rs. 1,13,57,500,/- and the accused were convicted and sentenced to undergo RI for 5 years and fined Rs.18,50,000/- in 2010. (Coimbatore EOW-II Cr.No 23/2000 U/s 406,120(b) IPC and 5 of TNPID Act)
The list and rate of convictions has not only increased hopes of the Odisha investors manifold, but also prompted them to retain faith in the State government following its declaration of corpus fund of Rs 300 crore and seizure of 427 acres of immovable properties belonging to some non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
The properties identified for confiscation through legal procedures include Seashore Group (156 acre), Artha Tatwa (234 acre), Saradha Group (13 acre), and Flourish India (24 acre).
Officials said the CB sleuths during raids have also seized Rs 86 lakh in cash, 103.8 kg silver, 217.5 gram of gold besides freezing nearly Rs 127 crore bank accounts of different fly-by-night firms between January 2012 and July 2013.
Going by the TNPID Act which came into force in 1997, it envisages action against financial institutions who failed to return the deposit/interest, attachment and sale of properties of fraudulent firms, arrest of the accused and, distribution of money to the depositors.
The Act which also allows the State government to set up Special Courts to help in the speedy trial of the cases, has understandably raised the investors levels of high hopes to get back their invested amount.
As per government estimates, 650,000 people have been duped to the tune of Rs 4,375 crore between January 2012 and June 2013, by the chit fund companies operating in the State.
The state police and crime branch have taken action against 127 firms, filed 280 cases and arrested more than 300 persons for involvement in the illegal money making schemes.