NEW DELHI :Government will soon start prosecution proceedings in the Rs 700 crore SpeakAsia online scam and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has completed its probe into the case, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. About Rs 700 crore worth funds were defrauded by the Singapore-based company and “we are in the process of filing prosecution in the case,” he said during the Question Hour.The alleged financial scam by SpeakAsia came to light in 2011, after which the Corporate Affairs Ministry, also headed by Jaitley, had directed SFIO to look into the issue.
“The case of only one entity conducting online activities without getting registered under the Companies Act, namely, SpeakAsia, which came to the notice of this Ministry, was referred to the SFIO. The investigation report of the SFIO has been received,” Jaitley said. His response came to a query on whether certain foreign companies were conducting online activities without getting themselves registered and action taken to safeguard the interest of Indian consumers and investors. Jaitley said that foreign companies registered in the country would be liable for action if they were found violating Indian laws. ”Provisions in respect of inspection, inquiry and investigation under sections 206 to 229 of the Companies Act, 2013, are applicable to foreign companies for their business conducted in India,” he noted. The Minister said information on source of funding — foreign or domestic — for setting up of foreign companies was not centrally maintained.
He was responding to a question on the funds received by overseas companies having operations in India. Till February 22 this year, as many as 135 foreign companies have been registered under the Companies Act. With regard to various foreign entities providing business services, the Minister said many of these could be international companies doing business directly in the country without having a subsidiary. Asked about Corporate Social Responsibility spending under the companies law, Jaitley said there is a list of activities which are considered as CSR works. “The list is reviewed from time to time…,” he added. Under the new companies law, most of whose provisions came into force from April 1, 2014, certain class of profitable entities are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year average annual net profit towards CSR activities