The findings of the SFIO probe in Saradha scam are also being shared with CBI and SEBI for further action
Completing its over a-year-long probe into the Saradha scam, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has submitted its final investigation report to the government, which may soon start prosecution proceedings for numerous serious violations found during investigations.
The scam, in which lakhs of investors from West Bengal and neighbouring States were defrauded through illegal money pooling activities, came to light early last year and has also had its political ramifications.
Sources said the final report, submitted by SFIO to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), has listed violations of many provisions of the companies law by various entities.
The Ministry is looking into the report and prosecution proceedings are expected to start soon under the Companies Act, they added.
The findings of the SFIO probe are also being shared with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has also been probing the case. At the same time, matters pertaining to collective investment schemes (CIS) are being referred to the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for further action.
SEBI had passed an order against Saradha Realty in April last year, soon after massive protests by public investors began in West Bengal. The company was asked by SEBI to refund investors’ money, among other strictures.
In the wake of public protests, the Ministry also asked SFIO in April 2013 to probe the case. The agency, which looks into white collar crimes and violations of the companies law, investigated more than 60 companies in this regard.
The probe agency had questioned many people, including suspended Trinamool Congress leader Kunal Ghosh. Saradha Group chief Sudipta Sen is behind bars. An interim report was submitted by SFIO in September 2013.
Moneylife Foundation, as the voice of over 30,100 savers, has sent a memorandum to the RBI and also called for a round-table discussion on 13th September with like minded citizens, activists and NGOs to take up ATM usage and charges issue with the banking regulator
The Reserve Bank of India, on 14th August issued a very anti-consumer directive restricting free usage of automatic teller machines (ATMs) by customers. This is in contrast to its own 5-point consumer charter (CC) that was well appreciated by media and bank customers.
Moneylife Foundation, along with several like minded citizens, activists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), is protesting RBI's move restricting free usage of ATMs by bank customers.
Moneylife Foundation also sent a memorandum to RBI governor Dr Raghuram Rajan, requesting him to restore unlimited usage of ATMs by banks to their own customers, restore differential pricing for cash and non-cash transactions at ATMs and introduce a system of reporting out of order ATMs for customers.
In addition, Monelife Foundation has called for a round-table discussion on this issue at Moneylife Foundation Knowledge Centre at Dadar in Mumbai on 13 September 2014 between 2.30pm to 4.30pm. All citizens, activists and NGOs who wish to be part of this discussion and take this forward are invited to join the round-table. There is also a need to write to the RBI that any directive that leads to increased costs to the depositor must be discussed with bank customers, the largest stakeholders.
Currently, banks have the freedom to decide their charges and interest rates without reference to RBI. So, if some banks found it prudent to curb usage or disallow third-party transactions, they could have gone ahead and done it without RBI’s intervention. So why the RBI directive? To make an anti-consumer action look like a regulatory diktat?
The Indian Bank's Association (IBA) used its influence on the central bank to ensure that angry customers do not vote with their feet and switch banks. Getting RBI to issue a directive removes the problem.
It also ignores the fact that IBA behaves like a cartel under RBI’s benign watch. That is how all banks act together to charge for mobile texts and debit cards and ensure that interest on savings bank deposits remains a low 4% at all but a couple of new banks.
In addition, what about ATMs that are not functioning thus making people to hop around and use other bank's ATM that is working. Another crucial issue is the restriction on money withdrawal. If someone needs, lets say Rs25,000, and the ATM has withdrawal limit of Rs10,000. In this case, the person would end up making all three permitted transactions there only.
Here is a link to our story on ATM charges: The RBI's ATM usage rule flies in the face of its own Consumer Charter