Sending a strong signal to those dressing up their illicit money-pooling schemes as 'credit cooperative societies' or other permissible activities, market regulator Sebi has said it is very serious in bringing them to book and is not wary of 'intensive litigations'.
Determined to clamp down on ponzi and other such schemes with enhanced powers, Sebi Chairman U K Sinha said that the regulator has come across entities which try to evade its jurisdiction by claiming to be running legal businesses such as credit cooperatives, chit funds and even NBFCs.
Giving example of a large group without disclosing its name, Sinha said that "in one particular case, which is a large case, the company was earlier under RBI domain. RBI took action and they shifted everything to something they thought was under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and we thought it was under Sebi's jurisdiction.
"When we took action, there was news that now we are getting into co-operative society funds... People will still try, what I am saying is that not everything is plugged.
"However we are determined that we will fight all these cases," added Sinha.
Sinha told PTI in an interview, "If we have an evidence that somebody has raised Rs 100 crore, we will fight those cases and let people come out with their defences. It (our action) will be based on evidence on case to case basis."
Through a new Securities Laws Amendments Act, the government has enhanced powers of Sebi to take action against illegal money-pooling activities involving Rs 100 crore or more. The Act also provides for setting up of a special court to expedite the cases filed by Sebi.
The new law has come at a time when a large number of cases have come to fore about raising of funds from gullible investors through numerous illegal money-pooling activities.
Sebi has already taken action in recent years against entities having collectively raised well above Rs 1 lakh crore through various schemes and its crackdown is expected to rise considerably after grant of new powers.
While acknowledging that certain activities are indeed exempted from Sebi's jurisdiction, Sinha said: "In co- operative societies, for example, you can take money only from the members and not the public.
"So, they will have to show that when the person became a member and all that... It is a matter of intensive litigation but we are very serious and clear that we will be moving on those lines,"