RBI launches ‘Sachet’ portal to rein in illegal money deposits

To curb illegal and unauthorised pooling of funds by unscrupulous firms, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a website, which will help people obtain information about entities allowed to collect deposits.

Launching the portal — sachet.rbi.org.in — RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said that initiating quick follow up and taking cases to logical conclusion by punishing the guilty is paramount to deter entities in future from carrying out unlawful activity.

The portal will facilitate filing, tracking of complaints, besides providing information about whether any particular entity is registered with any regulator or is permitted to accept deposits.

“I hope ‘Sachet’ (Hindi for alert) would help regulators in doing this as much as it would help members of public in depositing their hard earned money with genuine entities by giving them timely information about these entities,” Rajan was quoted as saying in a release.

The website would also help enhance coordination among regulators and state government agencies and thus be useful in curbing instances of unauthorised acceptance of deposits by unscrupulous entities, RBI said.

RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra said public could check the website if an entity seeking to accept deposits is registered with any regulator or if at all allowed to accept public money.

It also incorporates regulations prescribed by all financial regulators that different entities have to follow.

“Members of public can file and track a complaint on this website if any entity has illegally accepted money from them and/or defaulted in repayment of deposits. They can also share information regarding any such entity on this portal,” Mundra said.

The website also has a section for closed user group for State Level Coordination Committee (SLCCs) wherein they could share market intelligence and other information about their activities as well as agenda and minutes of meetings across the country on a real time basis.

Mundra added that website will act as a “force multiplier” and go a long way in making the functioning of SLCCs more effective and curbing the menace of unauthorised money raising activities.

The SLCCs were reconstituted in 2014 in states to monitor unauthorised collection of deposits. They meet frequently under chief secretaries or administrators of the states.

It is comprised of various regulators including RBI, Sebi, National Housing Bank, Irdai, Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Concerned state government departments such as home, finance, law and various police authorities are also part of the committee.

SLCCs meet frequently with the top officials from all these agencies to share information about entities involved in unauthorised acceptance of deposits and also initiate action against them in a timely manner.

The launch of ‘Sachet’ also assumes significance in the backdrop of various money collecting schemes that have duped the public money running into crores.

The chit fund scheme run by Saradha group of West Bengal is alleged to have duped public Rs 2,500 crore.

Also, PACL, a Pearl Group firm raised money from the public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses.

It is found to have collected thousands of crores rupees via illegal collective investment schemes over 18 years.

The company raised Rs 49,100 crore from nearly five crore investors. However, it has been directed to refund it along with promised returns, interest payout and other charges, taking the total amount due to over Rs 55,000 crore, a Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) order said recently.