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Last updated: 24 Nov, 2020  

Op.9.thmb.jpg 'Economic offenders choose vulnerable targets looking to make a quick buck'

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SME Times News Bureau | 24 Nov, 2020
From Housing scheme frauds to ponzi scheme frauds , white collar crime has been evolving new modus operandi to dupe people across the country. This amplifies the role of Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police to identify and arrest the accused after going through the digital footprints of fraudsters. In an exclusive interview with IANS Special Correspondent Zafar Abbas, Joint Commissioner of Police EOW O.P. Mishra elaborates on the new modus operandi of the criminals and precautions one can take to shield oneself from financial fraud.

In the present scenario, do you think the role of the EOW has enhanced manifold as more and more people are falling to the tricks of fraudsters and losing money as white collar crimes rise?

O.P. Mishra: Yes, the role of Economic Offences Wing has enhanced manifold. Economic offences are of different kinds. Offenders choose individual as well as collective victims. They accordingly adopt different methodologies and tricks to attract victims in their net.

From ponzi schemes to land pooling frauds, what are the recent modus operandi of the fraudsters to dupe people?

O.P. Mishra: Land pooling has recently emerged as a fraud in which innocent investors were motivated to invest in various housing schemes such as under the proposed land pooling policy of the DDA. The ground reality is that, DDA has yet not formally announced or finalised the comprehensive land pooling policy for different areas of Delhi. In anticipation of the scheme, many societies were formed by unscrupulous persons motivating people to invest. These societies are not in possession of any land duly approved by the DDA or the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). We have registered more than 19 cases against various fake societies. Similarly, ponzi scheme is a lucrative financial scheme floated by unauthorised people with a promise of very high returns on investment. Ponzi schemes operate under various guises. The EOW has recently arrested several people in various ponzi scheme cases.

Do you think the EOW is well-equipped to handle the influx of white collar Crime cases or there is need for upgrade regarding manpower and other facilities?

O.P. Mishra: Yes, the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police is well-equipped to handle the influx of white collar crime cases. The professional skills of the Investigating Officers are constantly upgraded through internal refresher courses and specific crime-based interaction with known experts in that field. Investigating Officers have acquired required professional skills for handling specific nature of cases. The unit has also been able to equip itself technologically over a period of time. Various other technological initiatives are under various stages of implementation.

How easy or how difficult is the recovery of money in crimes involving crores of rupees after the accused is arrested?

O.P. Mishra: The investigation of economic offences is heavily document-based. It requires lot of scrutiny and verification of documents related to the nature of offence committed. As per our investigative protocol, the bank accounts of alleged persons are immediately frozen after registration of the case. However, recoveries in various crimes take place through a legal protocol on the orders of the competent court. In a recent case of housing fraud, the builder was forced to return the money of various investors by the order of the court immediately after arrest.

What advice would you give to the general public so that they don't get trapped by the schemes of fraudsters?

O.P. Mishra: Every crime takes place because of certain lapses on the part of the victims. This is very much true for economic offences. Economic offenders choose vulnerable targets who are looking to make quick money in a very short span. I would like to advise people to invest in housing schemes after proper verification of the site, credentials of the company and due permission from the competent authority. Similarly, people should not get tempted to invest simply on the basis of lucrative and false incentives offered by the various companies without proper verification. Several unauthorised non-banking financial companies are operating. Investors have to be careful. A little bit of care and scrutiny at the initial stage by the investor can save him/her from becoming a victim of economic offence at later stage.
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