MUMBAI: Investors who lost their money in major scams and multi-level marketing’s cheating cases can heave a sigh of relief now. The state government has appointed 49 new competent authorities (CAs) to take decision in as many as 101 cases regisered under the strinent law, The Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act. This will help to dispose of as much as Rs 10,000 crore of investors that is stuck in over a hundred cheating cases’ legal battle.

Earlier, the city economic offences wing (EOW) had only two competent authorities. “CAs will proceed with the procedure of disposal of properties and realisation of money for repayment to the investors. It will expedite the process of recovery and will help the victims who have been cheated to get their money back,” said Dhananajay Kamalamakr, joint commissioner of police and EOW chief.

The big cases where these CAs will focus first include the cheating cases incluidng National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL), QNet, SpeakAsia, fixed deposit scam led by Sheesha lounge owner Mohammed Fasih and the Mumbai District Cooperative Bank. SpeakAsia alone has over 24 lakh investors. The money lost in this case is over Rs 2,276 crore while investors’ over Rs 6,000 crore is stuck in the NSEL case.

TOI had on October 11, 2015 reported about that as many as 62 cases under the MPID act were pending in a city court due to non-appointment of a competent authority. While seized properties of the accused in all the above cases await disbursement among the victims, the city police has sent a proposal to the state for several amendments including the appointment of CA for a speedy return of public money, said police sources. More than Rs 10,000 crore public money is stuck in MPID cases in the city alone, they said.

“Earlier, non-appointment of competent authority defeated the objective of the enactment of the MPID Act,” said an EOW officer. While an investigating officer probes the criminal part of a case, the civil aspects such as the attachment of properties, sale-realization of properties, and disbursement of sale proceeds to the victims are exclusively in the domain of the competent authority who is a revenue officer of deputy collector rank.

“It is observed that competent authority has been appointed in 23 cases in the city MPID cases earlier, notification of the properties in the official gazette is yet to be published. Hence, it would be better to have CAs with independent portfolio for MPID cases,” said a senior IPS officer.

Major cases where the appointment of competent authority will give relief to investors:

· NSEL Rs 6,000 crore
· SpeakAsia Rs 2,276 crore
· QNet Rs 425 crore
· FD scam Rs 325 crore
· Mumbai District Cooperative Bank Rs 119 crore

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Source: TOI-MUM