Monday, August 13, 2012

'Speak Asia fraud @ Rs 2,000 crore'

Home Minister R R Patil Monday said the Speak Asia fraud could be as big as Rs 2,000 crore and the money sent out of the country. The minister cautioned people against investing money in companies which make unbelievable promises and said economic offences to the tune of Rs 699.70 crore were reported in the state in 2010 alone.
Patil said cases had been reported against the Singapore-based company in other parts of the world and added that about 20 lakh people could have been duped in all. “We acted as soon as we received a complaint in the matter. People should be careful about investing money in companies which promise high returns within a short time. This company had given full-page advertisements in recognised newspapers and hired reputed advertising agencies,” said Patil, replying to a calling attention motion in the legislative council about economic cases and action taken on Speak Asia.
Patil said seven persons were arrested in the case while the accomplices were abroad. “We will hire CAs, lawyers and experts to tackle the crime,” said Patil.
Patil said a separate wing will be formed, with offices in the districts, to check economic offences. He said the government was keen to bring in a law to regulate such companies from attracting investors as the cases are now registered under Section 420 of IPC. “We passed a law which enabled property to be attached and money returned to investors. It was stayed by the High Court decision. We challenged it in court and it has now been accepted. Now, cases will be registered as per this law,” said Patil.
Meanwhile, the Economic Offences Wing has begun to get calls from more Speak Asia investors. “Our information is that Chief Executive Officer Manoj Kumar Sharma is travelling in the Gulf region,” said an EOW official.
“The immediate priority is to shut all communication channels and ensure the business model is shut. We have frozen many accounts in India which has given us a good idea that the money was not going back to the same business,” said the officer.

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