MCA has ordered probe against 75 companies for fraudulent schemes

Feb 6,2014

The Corporate Affairs Ministry has ordered a probe against 75 companies for allegedly raising money from the public through various fraudulent schemes.

The Ministry has also initiated various measures to protect investors.

"The ministry has ordered investigation into 75 companies which were found to be engaged in cheating small investors by promising high returns through various schemes," Minister of Corporate Affairs, Sachin Pilot, said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The new Companies Act contained various provisions to protect investors, he added.

These include enhanced disclosure norms so that investors, regulators and other stakeholders get relevant information from the companies, recognition of SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation office) as a statutory body with adequate powers and provisions for attachment and disgorgement of assets, among others.

Besides, the minister said that new law also defined "fraud" for the first time as a substantive offence and "will cover many dubious activities which are not specifically covered under the existing legal framework".

Asked about if any study has been taken with respect to fraudulent activities by companies, Pilot said that a Market Research and Analysis Unit has been set up in SFIO with the objective of analysing media reports relating to financial frauds and for conducting market surveillance of such corporates.

"In order to strengthen MRAU's functioning, an expert committee has been constituted, which has recommended induction of requisite technology and skilled manpower in the areas of finance, statistics and technology," Pilot said adding that the recommendations are being implemented.

Moreover, to a query with respect to investor awareness programmes, Pilot informed the house that his ministry in the last two years had conducted 100 such programmes in rural areas of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on a pilot basis through "Common Service Centres (CSCs) set up under Department of Electronics and Information Technology".

Besides, the ministry has organised 6,081 programmes since 2011 up to January 31, 2014.

From 2010 to January 31, 2014, the ministry has spent over Rs 17.33 crore towards investor awareness programmes against the budget of Rs 19.50 crore.

To a separate question pertaining to vacant posts of members of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the minister said: "Government has taken a decision to fill up one existing and two anticipated vacancies for the post of member of CCI".

"Applications were invited from candidates and 195 applications were received upto the last date ie November 7, 2013," he added.