Only cases involving `6cr or more to go to EOW now
Case Value Limit Doubled
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.