Pune resident Devraj Hiremath lost his entire savings when a Mumbai firm cheated him in a double-the-money scheme, promising him a 100 per cent return on investment in 20 days.
But the scam run by Powai based company that cheated Hiremath and hundreds of others of over Rs 3.2 crores was exposed by a specialized unit of the Mumbai police—Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The EOW was instrumental in cracked the case and arresting the accused.
However, similar scams in the state continue and in 2009, people across Maharashtra were cheated of Rs 600 crore.
Following this startling revelation, the Maharashtra government has ordered setting up of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in every city of the state. The EOW would be either part of the crime branch or would be attached to Local Crime Branch.
Currently only eight out the ten police commissionerates in the state have EOWs. Amravati and Solapur are the two commisionerates that don’t have EOWs.
P K Jain, Principal Secretary (Home) said: “We have issued instructions regarding this.” He declined to give more details.
Sources told Hindustan Times that the order also talks of empanelment of advocates and Chartered Accountants to deal with such crimes. A high level meeting to discuss the rising instances of economic offences had taken place last week.
“We keep chasing robbers and dacoits, meanwhile the amount that is being defrauded through white collar crimes is much higher so we have decided to set up EOWs in every district,” said a senior official in the home department.
Meanwhile, the government is also planning to formulate a law which will empower courts to attach such properties of the accused which have been gained from cheating people.
“As of now, we have Prevention of Chit Fund and Money Laundring Act which does not include attachment of such property that has been gained through cheating someone. We are trying to form an act that will give police more teeth,” said the official.
“It’s a welcome move as white collar crime is now happening all over and involves huge amounts. The modus operandi used in such crimes are also unique,” said Joint Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria, adding that setting up of EOWs in every district would help redress such grievances in smaller cities also.