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‘Need to tackle illegal deposit raising while the act is live’

Rajan at book launch

Mumbai : Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan today said it is important to tackle illegal raising of deposits while the crime is in progress given the nimbleness of such “fly-by-night” operators.

“We have to do this (tackle it) before the fly-by-night operator runs away with the money. We have to stop the crime in progress,” he said at an event here.

Underlining the challenges in fighting the menace, the outgoing Governor said some operators do not fall under the ambit of any regulator, are very small or operate from far-flung areas, making punitive action difficult.

When the regulator do manage to move-in, they “morph” into such an entity, which is outside the purview of any regulator, he said, underscoring the need for coordination between financial regulators and law enforcement agencies.

Rajan said there have been favourable changes in laws like the Protection of Interest of Depositors Act, and there are forums like State Level Coordination Committee (SLCC), which help in fight against unauthorised deposit raising.

These give the authorities the power to intervene before the money has actually been taken away and misused, he said, making a strong appeal to public not to fall prey to such tactics.

With phishing mail menace continuing, Rajan said RBI does not send any such emails promising money to people.

“I suggest all of us should ask, if they have got Rs 50 lakh to give me, why do they need me to send Rs 25,000 in the first place? Why can’t they just deduct the Rs 25,000 and send me the remainder?’ That question should be asked by anybody who gets such a solicitation,” Rajan said at the launch of a website to tackle illegal deposit collection.

The portal — sachet.rbi.org.in — will facilitate filing and tracking of complaints, besides providing information about whether any particular entity is registered with any regulator or is permitted to accept deposits.

Deputy RBI Governor S S Mundra said even literate people fall prey to such tactics, despite awareness campaigns.

“We see that public regularly falls prey to these kinds of activities. It is not restricted to so-called section which is not aware or educated, but we have seen in number of instances where highly educated people fall prey to such schemes and elude by very high unrealistic return which are promised,” he said.

Sebi’s wholetime member S Raman said the markets regulator has passed over 325 orders against such unscrupulous activities since 2012, when it was empowered with the changes in the legal framework.

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