Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 3:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued fresh alerts to the Odisha government on chit fund companies still operating illegally both inside and outside the state.
On May 30, the RBI held a high-level meeting with senior Crime Branch and Finance department officers and asked the investigating agency to keep an eye on the companies still active while sharing information with them.
Sources privy to the meeting said that chit fund companies were still luring investors with lucrative returns on their deposits after shifting offices to other states and/or changing their names. In revelation that should set the alarm bells ringing all over again, RBI told the state government delegation that more than 50 chit fund companies were still operating in their state.
The RBI had first alerted the Crime Branch in this regard on January 27 this year. The central bank had alerted the Crime Branch that Micro Finance Credit Cooperative Society, Samruddha Jeevan Multi-state Multipurpose Cooperative Society, PICL Multi-state Credit Cooperative Society and Sahara Credit Cooperative Society were collecting deposits from the public.
On March 7, the RBI again alerted the Crime Branch that chit fund companies like Artha Tatwa Group, Micro Finance, Swastik India, Samruddha Jeevan etc. were still operating in Odisha.
Following the alert, a toll-free number 18003457103 was set up by the Crime Branch to receive complaints about Ponzi firms operating in different parts of the state daily. The Crime branch has received more than 5,000 phone calls on this number. Using this informaton. it has arrested more than 10 chiefs of chit fund companies. Prominent among them are Land India, Oscar, Vista and Shribhumi.
A senior official of the Crime Branch revealed that such meetings are held every three months and officials of different departments take part in it. He said the claim that Artha Tatwa Group, Micro Finance, Swastik India, Samruddha India and the like are operating in Odisha was not correct.
“RBI received complaints of illegal money circulation business by some companies, whose headquarters are outside Odisha. We are keeping an eye on those companies. Action will be taken against them if we receive any complaint,” said ADG (CB) B K Sharma. The RBI and CB would launch awareness campaigns against such companies, he added.