Can Speak Asia be tried under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Act?

Although prima facie, the Speak Asia case appears to be fit for trial under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, the question is since it is not registered in the country, how and where would the proceedings be initiated against the MLM company

Speak Asia (SpeakAsiaonline.com) has been collecting large sums of money by rapidly enrolling people with the promise of incredible payments for simply filling out online surveys. We learn from our investigation and this has been confirmed by Speak Asia officials, that the company is not registered in India and so cannot present any legal documentation. Now, a debate has been set off on whether Speak Asia and its multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme can be banned under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 (PCMCSB Act).

Only two days ago, the Manipur state government used provisions of the PCMCSB Act to ban MLM companies. The state government said in a notification, "The MLM, though called by very attractive names, squarely falls within the definition of 'Money Circulation Scheme' under the Act and hence is prohibited by the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) (Manipur) Rules, 1978."

"This is to inform all the general public, government officials and others concerned that the specific provisions under Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) (Manipur) Rules, 1978, relevant sections under cheating Section 420 of IPC, Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954 are abundantly available to be invoked and effectively check and prevent progress of such dubious floated companies," the notification said.

"Section 3 of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 bans prize chit and money circulation schemes, or enrolment as members to any such schemes, or participation in such schemes. Sections 4 and 5 are penal provisions and prescribe punishment. Section 6 deals with offences committed by companies. Section 7 authorises a police officer, not below the rank of officer in charge of a police station, to exercise power to enter and search premises and to seize things used for such scheme. Section 8 provides for forfeiture of newspaper and publication containing money circulation scheme. The Preamble of 1978 Act declares that it has been enacted to ban the promotion or conduct of prize chits and money circulation schemes and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto," the notification said.

Not long ago, the Andhra Pradesh government also used the same Act to ban Japan Life,  Amway and GoldQuest. Shyam Sundar Matham of Corporate Frauds Watch (CFW) says, "The Andhra Pradesh High Court stated in its judgement that the business model of Amway India attracts the provisions of the PCMCS Act, 1978 and it asked the police to continue the investigation and file the charge-sheet in six months. Now the case is pending in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Nampally, Hyderabad under the same enactment."

The PCMCSB Act prohibits any entity from promoting, conducting any prize chit or money circulation scheme, enrolling any member of any such chit or scheme, or participating in it otherwise, or from receiving or remitting any money in pursuance of such chit or scheme (Section 3 of the Act). Under the provisions of the Act, the state governments were initially required to frame rules in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for winding up of the companies, which were running in contravention of the Act.

Earlier, the RBI, after receiving a complaint or information, would examine whether there was any prima facie case under the provision of the PCMCSB Act. The central bank would then inform the police, advising investigation and appropriate action. This was done by using the opinion given by the RBI and SR Hegde, the then legal advisor of the central bank, in September 2001.

However, in February 2003, the RBI issued another circular saying that it had no role to play and that its legal opinion (provided in September 2001) should be considered null and void. In the second circular, the RBI said that the PCMCSB Act was to be used by state governments, through consultation with their legal advisors and not depending on the central bank.

This is fine with MLM companies who operate or have offices in a particular state. But, since Speak Asia does not have its own office and is not registered in India, the question is which state government would take action against it? This is why authorities in Uttar Pradesh have taken action against some franchisees, but not against Speak Asia. It is being suggested that the union government, through the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax department (I-T) could initiate proceedings against Speak Asia. (The company says that it has remitted Rs325 crore to Singapore and distributed about Rs250 crore to its agents in India, for filling surveys, without deducting any tax.)

According to media reports, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has started an investigation on Speak Asia and is working together with the RBI and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Last month, Moneylife Foundation sent a letter to Murli Deora, minister of corporate affairs, RPN Singh, minister of state for corporate affairs, the Secretary MCA and other officials, informing them about Speak Asia. (Click to read the letter)

Nowadays, many media organisations are even using our reports on Speak Asia in their stories and correspondence, without acknowledging Moneylife. Its a different story that they all want to take credit for exposing Speak Asia now, purposely forgetting that the content they are using has its origin on the Moneylife website.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's national secretary, Kirit Somaiyaa, who has filed a case against Speak Asia with the Economics Offences Wing (EOW), in Mumbai, too has used Moneylife reports almost verbatim in his correspondence with the finance ministry, SEBI, RBI and EOW

Frankly, as long as it serves the purpose we do not mind anyone taking any credit for anything. Our humble request is at least acknowledge Moneylife, which would boost our efforts in the fight against frauds.
 

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    COMMENTS

    Sulthan

    10 years ago

    Why the hell you people are raising more voices against only one company, that makes me to think in other way, Speak Asia Advertisements coming in IRCTC website (central govt.), espncricinfo website, even in NDTV website, rediffmail website, sify, msn (hotmail), sony, even it is coming in yahoo website (same yahoo business has written an article against them!) and also SAOL television commercials came in Sony Set Max in between IPL matches, banners, hoardings outside in major cities, goa tourism joined hands of SAOL & organized the recent GenX Bazaar, no one raising voices / raised voices against those channels or websites or agencies or govt. body, if speak asia is a cheat - those people who helps for the cheating have also to be punished, why you people can't put case against those channels or even write against them all, why still govt. is not taking any steps against them? still speak asia is running from may 11h when star news first started to report speak asia as a fraud company, i'm not supporting speak asia here but i want everyone to raise their voices against all different companies in this same category, it is difficult to separate good companies and bad companies for a common man, but all MLM companies might be bad companies even though MLM is legalized in the world in so many countries, lets indian govt. decides to make MLM as legal or not and also decides speak asia's future by stopping all its activities and stop all investors to take back their money from the company, surely then it'll be a big set back for all investors who have put their hardly earned into companies like these, but surely it'll be an example for future public not to invest in these kind of companies, we need to blame the law, political system in india for these kind of companies comes and takes away public money easily and vanishes one fine day. Cheating is not only happening because of certain cheaters, it is mainly because of the certain politicians, govt. body, political system and many things who gives complete support to them, how many MLM company advertisements coming in TV commercials, anyone knows that? anyone saw that? the same TV which shows NMart Retails Advertisement in Star News, Aaj Tak, (which is not at all registered in any DSA body & it is a pure money circulation plan or concept) shows news against Speak Asia, both are same category of business, difference is Nmart collects less money than speak asia & takes so long period of time to give back that money whereas speak asia collects 10k and gives back within 3 months of time, that was the difference, first one is an indian company and second one is a singapore company.
    Now time has come for the Govt. to sit together with many experts in the industry and decide that to allow or accept MLM in India and also if it is not suited to indian culture just ban it, if it can suit to indian culture and develop indian standard of living and also brings some revenue to the govt. then set some guidelines or rules or laws and make them as legal thing with some stringent laws or restrictions. This step has to be taken immediately and implement in future to stop all fraudulent activities happening in the market outside.
    What is your name Mr., why you have put as Jutamaro? What does it mean? I think you are not only very keen in stopping SAOL's activity in India but also you are against to the investors of SAOL to get back their money! Keep it up! Jutamaro, your name looks funny Jutamaro, is that your real name?

    jutamaro

    10 years ago

    SAOL is only a front of Haren Ventures Pte Ltd, Singapore, owned by Haren Kaur where all the registration amounts of all panelists go. $20 million in Indian banks of HVP's distributors/franchisees and another $480 million in UOB bank, Singapore have been frozen. RoC must look into HVP too which is the brain behind SAOL and funds the expenses of the latter. SAOL is only opening a 100% subsidiary in India whose objectives as per their Memorandum of Association is marketing, clients for surveys, and product distribution. The bank account that SAOL plans to open in India after registration is to cater only for expenses of such objectives and not to pay accumulated Reward Points (RPs) of panelists. All these gimmicks are being undertaken to fool the panelists that their payments will be from India itself and also fool the governmental and banking authorities both in India and Singapore so that $500 million lying frozen get released to them.

    REPLY

    Sulthan

    In Reply to jutamaro 10 years ago

    Why the hell you people are raising more voices against only one company, that makes me to think in other way, Speak Asia Advertisements coming in IRCTC website (central govt.), espncricinfo website, even in NDTV website, rediffmail website, sify, msn (hotmail), sony, even it is coming in yahoo website (same yahoo business has written an article against them!) and also SAOL television commercials came in Sony Set Max in between IPL matches, banners, hoardings outside in major cities, goa tourism joined hands of SAOL & organized the recent GenX Bazaar, no one raising voices / raised voices against those channels or websites or agencies or govt. body, if speak asia is a cheat - those people who helps for the cheating have also to be punished, why you people can't put case against those channels or even write against them all, why still govt. is not taking any steps against them? still speak asia is running from may 11h when star news first started to report speak asia as a fraud company, i'm not supporting speak asia here but i want everyone to raise their voices against all different companies in this same category, it is difficult to separate good companies and bad companies for a common man, but all MLM companies might be bad companies even though MLM is legalized in the world in so many countries, lets indian govt. decides to make MLM as legal or not and also decides speak asia's future by stopping all its activities and stop all investors to take back their money from the company, surely then it'll be a big set back for all investors who have put their hardly earned into companies like these, but surely it'll be an example for future public not to invest in these kind of companies, we need to blame the law, political system in india for these kind of companies comes and takes away public money easily and vanishes one fine day. Cheating is not only happening because of certain cheaters, it is mainly because of the certain politicians, govt. body, political system and many things who gives complete support to them, how many MLM company advertisements coming in TV commercials, anyone knows that? anyone saw that? the same TV which shows NMart Retails Advertisement in Star News, Aaj Tak, (which is not at all registered in any DSA body & it is a pure money circulation plan or concept) shows news against Speak Asia, both are same category of business, difference is Nmart collects less money than speak asia & takes so long period of time to give back that money whereas speak asia collects 10k and gives back within 3 months of time, that was the difference, first one is an indian company and second one is a singapore company.
    Now time has come for the Govt. to sit together with many experts in the industry and decide that to allow or accept MLM in India and also if it is not suited to indian culture just ban it, if it can suit to indian culture and develop indian standard of living and also brings some revenue to the govt. then set some guidelines or rules or laws and make them as legal thing with some stringent laws or restrictions. This step has to be taken immediately and implement in future to stop all fraudulent activities happening in the market outside.
    What is your name Mr., why you have put as Jutamaro? What does it mean? I think you are not only very keen in stopping SAOL's activity in India but also you are against to the investors of SAOL to get back their money! Keep it up! Jutamaro, your name looks funny Jutamaro, is that your real name?

    vinay kumar

    10 years ago

    Deemag se kaam Lo aur analyse karo.
    Ek taraf sarkari sab ROZGAAR YOZNAs ke mukaable mein SPEAKASIA ki Rozgaar Yozna bahut kamyaab aur SAFAL rahi hai. Is mein kisi ko public money LOOTNE ka mauka nahin mila tao Lage SHOR machane. Ilzaam Lagaane walo pehle apne Girebaan mein Jhank ke dekho tau pata chale gaa ki KAUN KALA aur KAUN GOORA. Long Live Speakasia.

    BALBEER SINGH LODH

    10 years ago

    THIS IS ONE &ONLY GOOD SURVEY COMPANY

    REPLY

    Govindan

    In Reply to BALBEER SINGH LODH 10 years ago

    lol. are you one of the directors? sir.
    Please wait for some more time. you can survey Tihar jail also

    Vinay kumar

    In Reply to Govindan 10 years ago

    Bhai Govindan aap ki soch naam ke anusaar GALAT hai. Sir TIHAR mein Jaane ke DIN Politicians aur unke chamchoo ke hai.

    Wilfred DSilva

    10 years ago

    Dear Ms Sucheta Dalal

    I want to THANK YOU IMMENSELY on behalf of the indian people for exposing SPEAK ASIA
    May God protect you and your team and all your families
    A BIG GOD BLESS and thanks again
    Wilfred

    GOVINDAN

    10 years ago

    Please read the press note issued by Andhra Police

    http://www.cidap.gov.in/documents/MLM%20...

    DKJAIN

    10 years ago

    It is tregedy of indian people that they can not understand simple math or logic- As per SpeakAsia -each penelist will be given '2' survey in a week which mean in '52' week of year ,'104' surveys will be given. Now multiply those 104 x 19 lac present indian penelist =197600000 (Nineteen crore seventy six lac) total surveys at present membership of penelist (it is but obvious that after a year, number of penelist will increase manifold computing present growth rate of greed). Now, a simple logic, from where the hell this SpeakAsia is gona get all this crores of Surveys and who the stupid company(s) are going to assign survey work to SpeakAsia where only criteria is HONEY THE MONEY ? Is SpeakAsia is so popular and relaible that its surveys are acceptable? Is SpeakAsia are having so much advance order of survey in hand ? Recently, SpeakAsia's Lawyer stated that they may stop surveys at their will, then in such circumstances what about the greedestment (investment just out of sheer greed)amount of Rs11,000/- . Memeber Penelist are paying 11,000/- just for subscription of a e-magazine? can Anyone justify this amount for subscription or this is just another tactice to avoid litigations, evade taxes etc.

    DKJAIN

    10 years ago

    Legal remedy to all those Junior member penelist who feel or few days hereafter may experience cheated is that they can file criminal complaint against their senior penelist member for cheating, abetment of cheating (u/s 418 & 420 of IPC) for inducing them to such scheme. A Criminal complaint can be filed in local Police station and if Police station refuses then a Written Complaint or private complaint can be filed before local Magistrate having jurisdiction. Moreover, they can also file Complaint against SpeakAsia local -Mumbai based Registrant company. Said Complaint can be filed against Executive Director and/or Managing Director of Company. Addresses of directors can be accessed from Memeorandum of Association filed before Registrar of Companies at Marine Lines Office.

    PRITHVI

    10 years ago

    dear Maya ji

    koi kisi ko badanam nahi kar raha hai .
    jara sochiye ye koi MLM ho ya surevy company ho je sab hamare paise hami ko hi distibute karate hai .
    Agar aisa sahi hota to reliance aur tata yahi karate . koi aisa buisness nahi go apake paise ko ek sal me 4 guna ya 5 guna kare. plesae be authentic

    prithvi

    10 years ago

    please i am so surprised of some indian think they maky 5 time of our money in one year .

    please think this is a good idea to all world gov filup our deficite and gain also . no one is to be poor . all of them going toi be rich . there is no any probganda and doing "BADANAM"
    think what is wrong or right

    VIJAI

    10 years ago

    There are thousands of MLM companies in India and they are paying lakhs of rupees to panelists without doing any thing. Go and investigate them. There are stock companies also who had never done any business were allowed to issue their shares on very high premium and they were responsible for collapsing share market, on the other hand issued bonus shares without earning any profit, why not investigate that?

    GOVINDAN

    10 years ago

    Speak Asia, Nano Excel, Tycoon International, Visarev & Unipay2u – biggest scam is on its way

    REPLY

    Vinay Joshi

    In Reply to GOVINDAN 10 years ago

    Mr.Govindan,

    The reply recd by you, auto alert to me on the subject, my PC highlighted DNA SCAN WARRNING! C:\Documents and settings\Mr.Vin....\6823682.exe. obviously access was denied & file quarantied.

    MONELIFE WEB SITE MONITORS SHOULD INSTALL AUTOMATIC FILTERS SO AS NOT TO PROLIFERATE ATTACKS.

    Ms. Sucheta & Mr.Debashish, i eagerly await your earliest response in the matter to thwart any such malicious posts by commentors.

    Regards,

    GOVINDAN

    10 years ago

    Supporters of Speak Asia please read the judgment of Supreme Court of India in KURIACHAN CHACKO AND OTHERS Versus STATE OF KERALA (2008)8 SCC 708.

    REPLY

    Vinay Joshi

    In Reply to GOVINDAN 10 years ago

    Mr.Govindan,

    The funniest part is SAOL does'nt admitt its MLM, neither registered with Direct Selling Association of India. The Income Tax dept has taken up the issue with S'Pore authorities as India has DTAA with S'Pore & that the Bombay HC has summoned SAOL's Mumbai based Directors, PIL filed by Kirit Somaiya.

    Regards,

    MAYA

    10 years ago

    what about other MLM like
    ramsurvey
    admatrix
    flc etc.
    ya speakasia ne paise nahi diye add ke liye to unke peechhe hi pad gaye

    jaswant

    10 years ago

    koi yogin ka jawab do
    .............
    ..............
    kahan ho speakasiaon

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