Only cases in­volv­ing `6cr or more to go to EOW now

Case Value Limit Dou­bled

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Ma­teen.Hafeez @times­group.com

Mum­bai: The city po­lice com­mis­sioner has dou­bled the value of cheat­ing cases for which com­plaints can be lodged with the eco­nomic of­fences wing (EOW).

Of­fi­cials said the EOW will only take up cases in­volv­ing Rs 6 crore or more — up from Rs 3 crore — and po­lice sta­tions should han­dle dis­putes of a lesser value. As scams grow big­ger, in­volv­ing mega sums and dup­ing lakhs across the coun­try, the move is aimed at al­low­ing EOW to fo­cus only on com­pli­cated cases that re­quire a spe­cialised ap­proach, rang­ing from foren­sic au­dit­ing, a larger co­or­di­na­tion with agen­cies of other states and sci­en­tific in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

As of now, some of the big­ger cases be­ing probed, in­clud­ing Na­tional Spot Ex­change Lim­ited, Royal Twin­kle Star Club, PanCard Club, SpeakAsia, col­lec­tively duped over 75 lakh in­vestors across the coun­try of more than Rs 24,411 crore. In all, EOW is prob­ing cases where the to­tal dis­puted amount has crossed Rs 30,000 crore.

Terming it an “in­tel­li­gent call”, a se­nior of­fi­cer said EOW spe­cialises in tack­ling com­pli­cated cases and has skilled man­power and can help bring relief to a larger num­ber of peo­ple if it is given se­lected cases. “The num­ber of cases, quan­tum of prop­erty in­volved and im­pact of such crimes has con­stantly been in­creased for the last few years. With an in­crease and change in char­ac­ter of eco­nomic of­fences, it has be­come im­per­a­tive to take up se­lect cases for in-depth and sci­en­tific in­ves­ti­ga­tion and to strengthen the EOW in terms of ef­fi­ciency,” said an­other of­fi­cer.

The or­der, how­ever, said a com­plex case in­volv­ing less than Rs 6 crore but re­quir­ing spe­cialised and cross-coun­try in­ves­ti­ga­tion can be taken up by EOW with per­mis­sion of the po­lice com­mis­sioner.

The man­ual of in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of eco­nomic of­fences ini­tially al­lowed cases in­volv­ing Rs 25 lakh and above to be han­dled by the EOW. It kept be­ing re­vised and in 2014, the limit was raised to Rs 3 crore and the rank of the EOW chief was up­graded to joint com­mis­sioner.

“The na­ture of fi­nan­cial crimes has changed over decades. We dealt with mostly ‘dou­ble the money’ schemes and ques­tion pa­per leaks in the mid-90s. The peo­ple af­fected were mostly poor and the per­pe­tra­tors were not suave. For in­stance, in the in­fa­mous money chain scheme, a Ponzi op­er­a­tion where 20,000 peo­ple lost their in­vest­ment, the main ac­cused stayed in a chawl,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer. Now, or­gan­ised play­ers have en­tered the scene and the reach and mag­ni­tude of the scams have widened.

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