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Mumbai Police's EOW has mere 4 percent convictions, reveals RTI

Updated on: 06 November,2023 07:35 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Data obtained under RTI shows that department which is probing close to Rs 60,000-crore worth of white-collar crimes has a very poor record

Mumbai Police's EOW has mere 4 percent convictions, reveals RTI

A mere 264 chargesheets, summary reports and closure reports were filed between January 2018 and July this year. Representation pic

Only four per cent of individuals accused of perpetrating white-collar crimes worth Rs 59,000 crore between January 1, 2018 and July 2023 have been convicted while 93 alleged offenders are absconding, according to information obtained via Right to Information (RTI) applications.

The findings call into question the efficacy of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police. As per the reply to an RTI application filed by an activist Jeetendra Ghadge, in the aforementioned period, the EOW has registered 594 cases related to economic offences. However, a mere 264 charge sheets, summary reports and closure reports were filed by July this year. This disparity implies that approximately half of these cases are still being probed, leaving countless victims in limbo.

Between January 1, 2018 and July 2023, only 14 alleged white-collar criminals were convicted. Representation Pic
Between January 1, 2018 and July 2023, only 14 alleged white-collar criminals were convicted. Representation Pic

The figures paint a bleak picture. Within the period in question, a startling 319 accused were acquitted, while only 14 were convicted. In cases of economic offences, refunding the money to victims is a critical component of the justice system. However, the EOW has fallen short, having managed to refund a mere Rs 37,24,81,214 so far. This figure represents less than one per cent of the Rs 59,000 crore figure, leaving victims grappling with financial loss.

According to Ghadge, of The Young Whistleblowers Foundation, “The revelations serve as a stark reminder of the need for reform and efficiency within Mumbai’s Economic Offence Wing to ensure justice for victims of white-collar crime. In the past, an IPS officer serving as DCP at the EOW was suspended for alleged criminal offences. A high-level inquiry should be ordered if there were any malpractices that led to such low conviction rates.”

“The investigation of cases related to financial fraud, commonly known as white-collar crime, often endures prolonged scrutiny, as each and every fact of the case requires meticulous verification. The extensive collection of documents and rigorous scrutiny are key factors contributing to the inevitable delays. Additionally, a recurring pattern emerges with a majority of cases involving prominent figures from the construction and corporate sectors and politicians, where substantial sums are at stake. It is imperative that we consider invoking the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in instances pertaining to financial fraud,” explained an officer from the EOW.

Major scams EOW has been probing for past five years

>> PMC bank scam: The EOW probed the R7,000 crore scandal, leading to the arrest of realty company HDIL’s promoters Sarang and Rakesh Wadhawan, as well as Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank’s former MD Joy Thomas. The charge sheet was filed in 2019 and the trial has been pending since then.

>> Cox & Kings scam: The wing is investigating multiple FIRs against Cox & Kings, a global travel company, for alleged financial frauds amounting to Rs 2,500 crore. Various banks and private investment firms have registered cases for loan defaults, resulting in multiple arrests and charge sheets.

>> Patra chawl scam: The worth of this alleged scam is Rs 1,000 crore and the Enforcement Directorate registered an enforcement case information report and arrested MP Sanjay Raut in connection with it. He was later granted bail after the court deemed the ED’s actions against him illegal.

>> BMC irregularities: The EOW is investigating the Rs 12,500 crore scam based on the CAG report, which highlighted irregularities in various departments. An SIT has been set up by the Mumbai police commissioner as per the chief minister’s orders. Several preliminary enquiries are open, with one FIR registered against Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar in connection with the construction of a five-star hotel in Jogeshwari, allegedly in violation of an agreement, amounting to discrepancies of around Rs 500 crore

>> COVID scams: Multiple cases are being looked into in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, including those related to body bags and the so-called Khichdi and jumbo centre scams, amounting to an estimated Rs 50-60 crore.

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