Monday, March 7, 2016

Early warning system to detect Ponzi schemes on the anvil

With millions of investors losing tens of thousands of crores of rupees in deposit schemes floated by dubious companies in the past few years, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India are planning to develop an early warning system to ensure that investors don’t fall prey to such schemes.
The system will be based on certain financial parameters from the balance sheet of the suspected entities and enquiries could be initiated against them, according to sources close to the developments. The flow of funds into group companies, other income, abnormal gains/losses, change in accounting mechanism, and related-party transactions (such as sale of shares to group companies or deposits taken from another group company) are some of the parameters that could be looked at in a deposit-taking company’s balance sheet.
Smoke signals
Further, a sharp rise in debtors and large-scale write-off of debtors could also be smoke signals that can be detected.
S Ravi, a practising chartered accountant, said an increase in unsecured loans, inter-corporate loans, unsecured advances, and related-party transactions are indicators that need to be closely watched.
The move to establish an early warning system is aimed at zeroing in on companies that have taken deposits from the public whose balance sheet parameters show that they may renege on payment of interest and/or repayment of the principal.
It comes in the backdrop of the Central Bureau of Investigation probing Ponzi schemes involving funds of over ₹1.20 lakh crore. The Company Law Board (CLB) is empowered to take cognisance of any case of non-repayment of deposits on maturity, and direct the company to repay such deposits. Non-compliance with CLB orders may lead to imprisonment up to three years, and a monetary penalty.
The CLB has formed Hardship Committees to help small and needy depositors who have invested in fixed deposits with firms that have defaulted on refunds.
The investors/depositors can lodge their complaints with the concerned Registrar of Companies online through the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website.
Whatever the government is planning will be "closing the stable door after the horses have bolted"
It would be better if the government appoint people who went through the papers for suspect ads where people offer high interest rates, admission in colleges or jobs in companies. These are some of the ways simple people are duped.
Whenever any such ads occur, the government should send its people to check out whether these are fake or genuine. The agent could take photographs and other biometric data and the back ground of the initiators of the ad so that they can be caught in case their motive is not good. 
But then will the government do so because the biggest scamsters sit in Parliament and the state legislators?
Take our own Sarada scam. 
So many TMC people were involved that didi agreed to help Modi if he would slow down the CBI investigations.
Modi has obliged and we find a new bonhomie between the TMC and the BJP.

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