Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has found that chartered accountants and advocates helped 559 people launder Rs 3,790 crore in cash, Parliament was informed today. Without giving direct reply to a query on whether shell companies swindled Rs 3,900 crore during the demonetisation period, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said: “In one of the investigations by SFIO, it was found that a group of 11 companies had laundered money to the extent of Rs 3,790 crore during the period 2004-05 to August, 2010.”
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In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, he said SFIO, which comes under the corporate affairs ministry, identified 54 professionals who helped 559 beneficiaries in laundering the illicit cash.
These professional include 34 chartered accountants, three company secretaries, 4 advocates and 13 others.
The matters related to laundering illicit cash are handled by various agencies, such as enforcement directorate, economic offences wings of the states and income tax authorities.
In a separate reply, Meghwal said the ministry has ordered investigations into the affairs of 432 companies, for alleged fraud, through SFIO in nearly four years.
To detect financial frauds, SFIO is in the process of developing an early warning system and a consulting agency has been engaged for developing the conceptual work.
The system would strengthen SFIO’s capability for taking stringent action against corporate misconduct.
According to investors’ grievances data maintained by the ministry, action has been initiated against 2,414 companies in 2014-15, 89 in 2015-16 and 189 in the first 11 months of the current fiscal.
The minister also said that Competition Appellate Tribunal has disposed of 166 cases 2016, while the number was 88 in 2015 and 48 in 2014.