Govt mulls super regulator to nip Ponzi schemes
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Govt mulls super regulator to nip Ponzi schemes

Empowered body to look into get-rich-quick offers at early stage, tip off enforcement agencies, Gaurav Choudhury & Sanjib Kr Baruah report.

business Updated: Feb 21, 2012 02:12 IST

What if a company asked you to invest Rs 2,25,000 and promised you to give Rs 8,000 a month for five years and a Honda City ZX car at the end?

What if a company asked you to fill one online survey form a week and earn Rs 52,000 a year?

What if it asked you to invest Rs 11,000 as annual charges which would be recouped in under three months? And what if these companies promised more commissions if you enrolled more members like yourself?

You would surely be tempted, as have millions of people been, only to be stung when the promoters disappear with your hard-earned money.

Stung by the proliferation of such fraudulent "Ponzi" schemesor multi-level marketing, the government will now set up a centrally administered regulatory system to take early action.

The central agency-either the RBI or the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) - will be empowered to examine a scheme at its initial stages of operations and will be armed with powers to investigate and punish offenders.

Authorities woke up after critics and investors of a Singapore-based online multi-level marketing company operating out of Mumbai smelt a "Ponzi scheme".

"It has been broadly agreed that an agency is needed to examine whether a scheme is an economically viable model or is it running a money circulation fraud that would fail sooner or later," the source said.

The regulator will be appropriately empowered and authorised to take action under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 or the PCMCS (B) Act.

"The central agency after examining the scheme would advise the state police or authorised officers on the appropriate course of action under the PCMCS (B) Act," the source said.

First Published: Feb 20, 2012 22:15 IST