We are now better prepared to check investment frauds: Pilot

Tags: News
Government and regulatory agencies have put in place a stronger mechanism to address the menace of illegal investment schemes and to ensure that nobody goes scot-free, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot says.

The Minister further said that the next logical step would be ensuring refund of investors' hard-earned money, while a better collaborative strategy has been put in place among various departments to remove the regulatory lacunae exploited earlier by fraudsters.

"I would be fully satisfied if we were able to recover all the money people lost. This is the long and short of it," Pilot told PTI in an interview.

Asked if recovery of money for refund to investors still remains a grey area, the Minister said, "I am of the view that we should seize assets and freeze accounts, but then there is a judicial process involved.

"Sometimes, the judicial process is rather slow for various reasons. But still, people have been charge-sheeted, people are in jail and people are being prosecuted and I don't think anybody is now allowed to go scot-free."

There have been a number of cases, including some high- profile matters like Saradha scam in West Bengal, where lakhs of investors were found to be robbed off their hard-earned money through illegal investment schemes, some of which were in the name of chit funds without being registered so.

On Saradha probe, Pilot said that a final report by the SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) was expected in a few days. Its interim report was submitted to the Ministry in September.

On various steps taken since Saradha scam came to light in April this year, the Minister said, "There is much more greater awareness among law enforcement agencies and they know that they need to be very very vigilant that people don't launch illegal schemes under the garb of collective investment schemes or some other cover-ups.

"Be it central government, state governments, RBI, Sebi or MCA, we all now have much better strategies to work together because we know now that how people have misused the loopholes.

"We have tried to plug them and Sebi has been given more powers. We also now have very close relationship with RBI and Sebi, especially for this issue," he said.

While SFIO is already probing many companies for illegal schemes launched in West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura and Assam, some state governments have asked the Centre to launch a CBI enquiry, Pilot said.

"I have myself written to chief ministers, telling them that they should enact a law keeping in line with today's reality," he said.

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