With liberalisation, theaboideau of scams and financial irregularities is thrown open and Indian financial market is flooded with all conceivable kinds of frauds, shady transactions and corrupt practices. As long shadows of mixed economy receded from the four decade old sky of the Indian Republic, the Indian economy is sweltering under the heat of economic crimes. Not that economic crimes are new to human generation or India; small fraudulent dealings were born with man and bound to continue as part of his nature till the imbalance of supply and consumption haunts his existence. What manifested is organised frauds to loot the public its money by clever use of the financial environment and the innocence of the hoi polloi; ill-conceived financial rules and laws and slack financial practices and procedures evidently failed to carry the weight of the liberalised economy. The people who were inured to protected economy and state control cannot easily adapt to liberalised economy where all sorts of worms and creatures creep, waiting to make best use of the laissez-faire. Rules and laws being not tightened to meet the challenges of the liberal atmosphere, unscrupulous elements have a field day in playing with the public money either to intentionally defraud or experiment in risky projects. The plans are always mega-schemes running for hundreds or thousands of crores of rupees of the gullible public. Corruption in government and public life ease the process. Bribes play key roles in keeping rules, laws and regulatory authorities shut. The sounding of finance minister, Mr.P.Chaidambaram in June, 1977 after CRB scam came
to light that law enforcers must ruthlessly deal with economic offenders is too small coming too late to have any meaning or impact on the atrophy already set-in, in Indian economic labyrinth. The problem lies in the liberalisation process having taken-off without adequate infrastructure of checks and counterbalances to sustain it. Educating the public about the nuances of a liberal economy and preparing them for the risks immanent in the system as well as strengthening the reticulation of rules, laws and law enforcing system to handle and control economic crimes go a long way in keeping away the extant maelstrom and making liberalisation a more relevant and meaningful direction to Indian economy to pursue.
On closer scrutiny, it is obvious that Indian democracy and administration are over-weighed with myraid rules, regulations, laws and controls. The problem of India is their enforcement. What India needs is efficient enforcement, and not more and more rules and laws. This is true of Indian economy also. The need is desperately felt in the atmosphere of liberalisation. Enforcement has two faces: preventive and investigative. As far as preventive measures are concerned, the present rules and laws are adequate to bring any financial operation to a standstill. Slack, inefficient and casual enforcement process laced with corruption makes economic activities possible in India. In the atmosphere of liberalisation where economy is less regulated and controlled with fewer rules and laws to tie the hands and legs of the market forces, illegal activities find avenues to surface to the detriment of the open market. Stringent enforcement of relevant rules and laws to prevent illegal activities is the need of the hour. When preventive machinery fails in its activities is the need of the hour. When preventive machinery fails
in its task, the investigation agency comes to the force. When preventive measures collapse, the demands on the investigating machinery increases to bring the hors la loi to book. Demands per se do not meet the needs of efficient investigation. Commitment to the job is one side of the need. The other side is the skill of investigating economic offences.
Investigation of economic offences is a specialised job requiring special skills far removed from the needs of investigating bodily crimes. An investigator of economic offences has to be well versed in the intricacies of financial transactions, the dynamics of the market forces, rules and laws regulating and controlling the financial market and the finer aspects of auditing and accounting apart from a sound analytical disposition to interpret the data and evidences during the process of investigation. He should command indefatigable patience to scrutinise and interpret stacks of bills, vouchers, minutes, contracts, balance sheets, audit reports, correspondences, records, registers and other documents. It is a time consuming drudgery far removed from the glamour attached to it.
A point central to both economic crimes and their investigation is the willing cooperation and participation of several related agencies and individuals in the operation. They call for group-work involving meeting of mind and synergy towards the main goal. Symbiosis is the sacred hymn of the operations. Indeed, there is a main player to whose initiative and plan, all others contribute as and when required. Other constituents in the play necessarily include key government agencies responsible for regulating financial
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