New Delhi, Feb 12: The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill which seeks to provide severe punishment and heavy pecuniary fines for chit fund operators and fraudsters, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The draft law as amended in Cabinet meeting on February 6, was introduced by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Several members, including Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said it can be taken up on Wednesday for consideration and passing.
In a major decision to help innocuous investors not to fall into the trappings of fraudsters and chit fund operators those played havoc with poor and middle class people in West Bengal and few other eastern states, the Union cabinet on Wednesday had given its green signal to the Bill that provides for severe punishment and heavy pecuniary fines for such operatives to act as deterrent.
The Bill would significantly also provide for 'attachment' of properties and assets by the Competent Authority, and subsequent realisation of assets for repayment to depositors. Moreover, tightening rules on chit funds and other unregulated deposit schemes, the new draft law will also ensure that there "clear-cut time lines" for attachment of properties of the fraud operators.
The Bill also has adequate provisions for disgorgement or 'repayment of deposits' in cases where such schemes indulge in raising the deposits 'illegally'. The CBI has lodged about 166 cases in the last four years in chit funds and multi-crore scams, with the maximum in West Bengal and Odisha, sources said.
The earlier version of the Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla on July 18, 2018. The push for a new law to deal with ponzi operators in seen as a political significant step as the BJP has intensified its political tussle against Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress, specially after a big fracas on February 3 when Kolkata police personnel had stopped CBI from meeting and questioning Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. (UNI)