Rs 10,000 crore. That is the extent to which bogus chit fund companies have duped investors in Maharashtra.
Minister of State (Home) Ranjeet Patil admitted on Tuesday that since 1999, fly-by-night firms were involved in scams to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore in the state.
Patil said that at least eight lakh investors had parked money in such bogus companies during the period in a reply during question hour in the state legislative assembly.
The government has so far lodged cases 163 criminal cases against unregulated chit fund firms. But while it has confiscated properties worth Rs 7,000 crore, only Rs 93 crore has so far been recovered and returned to investors, Patil informed.
Shiv Sena’s Pratap Sarnaik, Arjun Khotkar, and others, had raised a query in this regard during the question hour.
Sarnaik alleged that model-actress Leena Maria Paul, who was recently arrested in connection for her alleged involvement in one such chit fund firm ‘Lion Oak India’, was being handed “special treatment” by cops in prison, whereas Khotkar demanded a more “proactive role” of the state’s economic offences wing (EOW) in acting against such bogus firms.
Responding to the query, Patil said that the government had no information regarding any special treatment given to Paul, but would inquire into it.
Claiming that even highly education had fallen prey to the lure of such companies, Patil further said that the government will take up a drive to spread awareness against these.
He further added that the investigators will be asked to ensure speedy investigation and filing of charge sheets in cases where action has been taken.
Incidentally, BJP MP Kirit Somaiaya has been spearheading the campaign against chit fund firms. On his part he has claimed that the scam in Maharashtra was to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore.