The union cabinet has approved an amendment bill to ban unregulated deposit schemes in the country. Any deposit scheme not registered with the government is illegal and will be banned. Running such schemes has become a punishable offence as per the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, any deposit scheme not registered with regulators such as the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), RBI, SEBI, among others. “The Bill contains a substantive banning clause which bans deposit takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme. The principle is that the Bill would ban unregulated deposit taking activities altogether, by making them an offence ex-ante rather than the existing legislative-cum-regulatory framework which only comes into effect ex-post with considerable time lags,” said the government release.
The Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi scams are big scams involving many big names. These scams happened because there was no regulation to check and audit the balance sheet of these fraudulent companies. With the support of politicians, these companies flourished and looted the hard earned money of poor people.
Many senior politicians from the ruling TMC in Bengal received support from the Saradha and Rose Valley group. The CBI arrested TMC MP Tapas Pal on 30th Dec 2016 and TMC MP Sudip Bandhopadhyay on 3rd January 2017 in connection with the alleged Rose Valley chit fund scam. Tapas Pal was one of the directors of the Rose valley group; Bandyopadhyay is accused of being a promoter of the ponzi firm. When the TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay was arrested, members of the TMC attacked the BJP headquarters in Kolkata which caused injury to several BJP workers. According to reports, the Rose Valley scam is of around 17,000 crores; the small depositors association the scam stood at 40,000 crore.
According to a rediff.com report, Saradha’s annual collections went up from Rs 15 million at inception to Rs 10.08 billion in 2011-12 and Rs 8.5 billion in 2012-13, when Banerjee was chief minister of West Bengal. The report of rediff.com further states that in 2011-12, the Saradha group spent millions of rupees sponsoring cycles, motorcycles, ambulances etc that the then West Bengal CM distributed among the people in Jangalmahal and other backward areas of the state. No one can deny that the menace of Ponzi schemes running groups and syndicates raj flourished under the Mamata government. It also explains why she is so rattled with the CBI investigation in the case.
The Bill creates three types of offences to protect the deposits of common people. The running of unregulated deposit scheme, fraudulent default in regulated deposit scheme and wrongfully pursuing in relation to unregulated deposit scheme have been declared punishable offences in the bill. “The Bill has adequate provisions for disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally,” said the government release. The financial assets of offenders could be attached for the repayment of deposits. “The Bill provides for attachment of properties/assets by the competent authority, and the subsequent realisation of assets for repayment to depositors,” said the release.
The bill will help in curbing scams like Saradha and Rose Valley which involves high profile politicians. The corrupt politicians could be punished quickly with the help of this. The people involved in Saradha and Rose Valley has not been punished yet but with the help of this bill, people will be punished for wrongful activities.