High-level meet to rein in fraud NBFCs

Bhubaneswar: Close on the heels of Kolkata-based Saradha group’s collapse which is believed to have wiped out Rs 20,000 crores of depositors’ money, state Development Commissioner JK Mohapatra is convening a high-level meeting on Monday with top officials of concerned departments to chalk out a plan to prevent the progress of such dubious floated companies.
“The Development Commissioner is holding a meeting with officials of CB, economic offences wing (EOW), Finance and other concerned departments to rein in fraudulent non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and unincorporated bodies (UIBs),” a highly placed source said on condition of anonymity.  
Meanwhile, following the order of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Special Task Force under the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) would begin its probe with a total of 57 companies who are into illegal money-pooling activities of various entities. Most of these companies are operating in West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Assam.
The Monday meeting gains significance as the State is yet to receive approval of Orissa Protection of Interests of Depositors (In Financial Establishment) Bill, which was passed in State Assembly in December 2011 and sent to the Centre for President’s approval in April last year.
The Bill aims at protecting the interest of depositors in NBFCs and deposit acceptance activities of UIBs.
According to officials, the legislation would not only curb illegal activities of unscrupulous NBFCs and UIBs but also is expected to protect the interest of the depositors by way of return of their deposits with benefits/interests accrued there on at the instance of the State Government.
Officials observe the Act in its present form does not have teeth to arrest the fraudulent transactions while the Bill has provision for awarding up to 10-years of imprisonment and confiscation of the properties of the company.
With a number of such fraudulent companies luring investors with high returns and vanishing overnight leaving the common depositor frustrated, the Saradha group is estimated to have collected Rs 50 crore from gullible investors in the state.