In a multi-agency crackdown against alleged duping of public investors through Ponzi schemes, the government today said the entities suspected to be engaged in such activities are being probed by Sebi, RBI and the Corporate Affairs Ministry, among others.
Besides, the Income Tax Department has also initiated an investigation of Saradha group and the Enforcement Directorate has also registered a case of suspected money laundering activities against this Kolkata-based group and others including its chief Sudipta Sen, the Finance Ministry said.
Detailing the steps being taken against alleged illegal raising of funds by so-called chit fund companies in West Bengal and the Eastern region, the Ministry said various central government agencies have taken action on this front.
"Media reports in the past few days have highlighted concerns regarding alleged illegal raising of deposits, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, in Eastern India and duping of the gullible public.
"Promoters of such companies are allegedly siphoning the monies collected and are using a sales network comprising local persons who are offered hefty commissions, in a manner similar to Ponzi schemes," it said.
Ponzi schemes are used for activities involving collection of money from a large number of public investors with a promise of huge returns, which are typically paid from the deposits taken from new investors. The old investors and agents get hefty commissions for bringing in new investors.
"The matter is under examination by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI)," the Ministry said.
Sebi has initiated action against several companies which have come to its notice for violation of one or more of its regulations. In over 59 cases in the eastern region, Sebi has initiated prosecution cases in Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) related matters in various courts.