The world has suffered enough from financial swindlers and it has not left any nations nor states. India has suffered and has not stopped the news of financial scandals. Ponzi scheme is one of the old financial scandals known after Charles Ponzi, who cheated Americans in the early 1920s, promising people to invest in his company ‘Securities Exchange Company’ to double their money within a short time. He used to pay old investors’ commissions with the money from new investors. He flourished and live a luxurious life until he was caught and jailed when failed to pay the depositors.
Manipur has witnessed few major Ponzi scheme scandals in recent times, crores of rupees collected from people trapped by swindlers, whose names and companies have surfaced. There are many more swindlers running Ponzi schemes, whose names are unreported. The investors, whose money is trapped under these Ponzi schemes, are in the state of a dilemma between seeking legal help to recover their hard-earned money and waiting in a dream of the repeated lies of fixing dates to refund them.
The Indian government has brought an anti-Ponzi law in 2019 and the law is in place. Manipur government, following the central government’s Banning Unregulated Deposit Scheme Act 2019, has adopted new rules ‘Manipur Banning Unregulated Deposit Scheme Rules 2021 in January. Both the Central law and the state need to be in action to stop the known Ponzi schemes operating in the state. The public needs to be educated about the Ponzi schemes and repeat offenders of these swindlers.
Most of the swindlers operating Ponzi schemes are reported to be repeat offenders; therefore, there are high chances of these swindlers seeking green pastures. They might soon move toward the rural areas and hills of Manipur to trap the people with their financial ploys.
Public awareness program, informing the people about the Ponzi scheme and illegality of collecting funds from the public without license holding a valid license from the regulatory bodies, will be the best means of safety for the public from these swindlers.
Secondly, the Government of Manipur must walk the talk – the new law should be in place. The known swindlers running the Ponzi schemes must be booked and punished and the provision of recovering the money collected from the public must be implemented as per the newly enacted central government and state laws. Third, a mechanism of reporting to the government and the law enforcement agencies for the public or whistleblowers of any activities of Ponzi schemes.
The writer is a Hyderabad based freelancer and former spokesperson of North East Helpline, Delhi.