More than One Lakh shell companies listed by SFIO as a war against black money

More than One Lakh shell companies listed by SFIO as a war against black money

New Delhi: The government is all geared up to launch another assault on the black money. A list of more than 1,13,000 shell companies has been drawn by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) as a war against black money.

More than 80,000 companies have been red-flagged as shell entities in the database of SFIO whereas it has identified 16,537 companies who are doing illegal activities.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs said that appropriate action will be taken after getting the responses. It said, “An opportunity of being heard will be given to the companies and LLPs (limited liability partnerships) which have been identified through notices regarding their default and proposed action.”

In order to crack down the shell companies which are used launder black money, Prime Minister’s office had set up a task force last year in February and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is part of that task force. There are set of markers to identify shell companies determined by the task force. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) had prepared a standard operating procedure which will be followed by all law enforcement agencies.

Notably, names of more than 2,26,000 companies, which didn’t file financial statements or annual returns for a continuous period of two or more financial years from the register of companies under Section 248 of the Companies Act, 2013, were struck off by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

This year also, around 2,25,000 companies have been identified by Registrar of Companies on the same backdrop and have been removed from the register.

More than 300,000 directors have also been disqualified from holding such posts for the non-filing of financial statements or annual returns for three financial years in a row.

Since taking over in May 2014, the government has made the rooting out of black money one of its key objectives through legislation and policy changes.

Other members of the task force set up by the PMO include representatives of the Department of Financial Services, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the directors general of the GSTI and CEIB.