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5 scams that rocked India in 2015

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New Delhi: From DDCA, corporate espionage, to chikki and IPL controversies, India was rocked by a number of scams in 2015. As we bid adieu to the year, here’s a look at the top scandals that made headlines.

  1. DDCA Scam

The DDCA scam began making headlines after the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the CBI’s raid at his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s office earlier this month was carried out to look for files related to the alleged financial irregularities in the cricket body when it was headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Soon former cricketer and now suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad addressed a scathing press conference flanked by Bishan Singh Bedi apparently raising the issue of corruption in the DDCA and targeting Jaitley. Taking strong exception to AAP leaders’ allegations against him, Jaitley filed a civil defamation suit against Kejriwal and five others. BJP, on its part, cracked a whip on Azad by sacking him from the party for his alleged “anti-party activities”. Unperturbed by his suspension, Azad has vowed to continue exposing corruption in the DDCA. This issue promises to make headlines in 2016 as well.

  1. Corporate Espionage Scandal

The year began with the arrests of five senior executives of India’s top private energy companies – Reliance Industries, Essar, Cairns India, ADAG Reliance, and Jubilant Energy – for allegedly being involved in the leaking of Petroleum Ministry documents.

Delhi Police said in its charge sheet submitted to a Delhi court said that a “handsome monthly amount” was paid by the arrested corporate executives to those “hired” for obtaining the “stolen documents” from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).

An amount to the tune of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per month was being paid to the two accused, Lalta Prasad and Rakesh Kumar, who were the first to be arrested outside Shastri Bhavan in the national capital.

The documents were then supplied to the firms by these officials for their benefit, the police had alleged. A total of 16 people were arrested in connection with two separate FIRs lodged by the Crime Branch.

  1. Lalit Modi Money Laundering Case

Former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi found himself in deep water after he made headlines for allegedly being involved in a money laundering case. The business honcho was accused of bid rigging, awarding contracts to his friends, accepting kickbacks on a broadcast deal, selling franchises to members of his family, betting, and money laundering. He took refuge in the UK after absconding from India even as the Enforcement Directorate was investigating the cases.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje were also accused of doing a favor to Modi by helping him secure the UK travel documents. The issue rocked Parliament where the Congress gunned for Swaraj demanding her resignation for helping a “fugitive” escape the Indian law.

The issue isn’t over yet, especially when Modi has been reinstated as the President of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.

  1. Chikki Scam

The Maharashtra Women and Child Welfare minister, Pankaja Munde, found herself caught in a cleft stick after she was accused of awarding contracts for various items including the sweet snack, “chikki” for tribal area schools without calling for e-tenders.

Congress lawmaker Sharad Ranipse moved a breach of privilege motion against Ms Munde in the state assembly, accusing her of flouting rules of business.

“The Governor in his first address… had mentioned that e-tendering will be made mandatory for all purchases, which was approved by the state cabinet… By approvingRs. 206 crore-worth items, Ms Munde has flouted the rules of business,” Ranjpse said.

Following the allegations, the state government informed the Bombay High Court last month of a policy decision which would ensure that no goods of substandard quality are henceforth purchased.

  1. Uttarakhand Flood Relief Scam

An RTI reply has revealed a major scam that took place over three years involving disaster relief funds provided to Uttarakhand by the Union government.

Ramesh Kumar Jaisawal, a resident of Mussoorie, claimed that the Central government has admitted to having provided Rs 9,171.70 crore under the heads of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force, Centrally Sponsored schemes (CSS), Central Plan (CP), Special Plan Assistance (SPA), externally aided projects (EAP), and Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Besides, funds agencies such as Asian Development Bank and World Bank had also released funds for disaster relief.

Shockingly, the state government admitted to receiving only Rs 5,727.44 while denying that it had received funds under the CSS and Central plan schemes and claiming that funds under these schemes were directly given to various departments without its knowledge.

The Uttarakhand government has much to answer in this regard.(Image:Forbes)

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Payday Loans: Why They Have a Bad Rep and How You Can Benefit From Them

There are payday loan companies out there that have mistreated their customers in the past that people just assume that all the companies are like that

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Payday Loans that ask you for money upfront are more than likely going to be scams. You might see them listed online as advance fee loans and these are notorious internet scams that have cost lots of people money that they’ll never get back. Pixabay

Whenever financial emergencies come up, the most reliable and, pretty much guaranteed way of getting money fast, is by way of getting a payday loan. The process to get money in your time of need is so easy… you can apply and qualify in minutes! So, if Payday Loans are so awesome in helping millions of consumers in their time of need, why has it gotten such a bad rep?

Well, you know how in certain situations, all it takes is one person to mess things up for everyone else? That’s how the payday loan industry got such a bad reputation. There are payday loan companies out there that have mistreated their customers in the past that people just assume that all the companies are like that… It’s more so the unlawful acts that made people turn away from payday loans.

Unlawful Acts of Payday Loans

Some of the unlawful acts that have been done to customers include:

  • Not fully disclosing all the terms of the agreement
  • Tacking on excessive interest rates
  • Requiring money upfront

Payday loans that ask you for money upfront are more than likely going to be scams. You might see them listed online as advance fee loans and these are notorious internet scams that have cost lots of people money that they’ll never get back. According to fraudguides.com, the way advance fee loans work is the victim will agree to pay a “finder’s fee” before getting the loan. 

In order for the deal to be sealed, the victim will have to sign a contract and within the contract, there is language and lingo that the victim will agree to pay that fee when they know the source of where their funds will be coming from. It’s not until they pay the “finder’s fee” that they learn that they are disqualified to receive the financing they need.

There obviously scams all over the world… there were actually 5 scams that really shook India back in 2015 but the bottom line is that with scams, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Just pay close attention to what the qualifying requirements are and if they seem suspicious, look for something else… you shouldn’t have to pay money when you need it.

Why Payday Loans Have Gotten Such a Bad Reputation

Customers aren’t fully aware of all the terms of the loan agreement

This area was touched on earlier but to be fair, the reason for this can go both ways. It’s easy to say that the payday loan representative did not disclose all terms of the loan agreement with you but is that really the case? Sometimes the reality of why people find themselves in more debt than they bargained for is because they weren’t fully paying attention to the terms as the payday loan representative was stating them.

It’s very easy to do. The representative could be disclosing everything you need to know but you have this financial burden weighing heavily on your mind that you don’t even hear what the terms of the agreement are… you just simply “sign here” and “initial there” so you can get the money you so desperately need.

Now, it’s very possible that a payday loan company purposely didn’t disclose everything with a borrower simply because they want to get money but lenders are required by law to disclose everything in the loan agreement, including the repayment schedule and interest rate.

Payday Loans
Whenever financial emergencies come up, the most reliable and, pretty much guaranteed way of getting money fast, is by way of getting Payday Loans. Pixabay

The interest rates tend to be higher

Okay, so payday loan interest rates are quite high but you have to look at what you’re paying for in your interest rates… you’re paying for convenience. With payday loans, you’re getting the money you need almost instantly and they don’t do credit checks. So people with bad credit can get approved… if you were to go to a regular loan company, you would immediately be denied due to having bad credit and even if you had good credit, it could take weeks for you to get the money you need, depending on how much you’re asking for. 

So, before you continue on a rant about how bad payday loans are, remember what you’re you’re actually getting; you’re getting the money you need immediately and without a credit check.

Borrowers misuse payday loans

It’s not always the lender’s fault as to why you had a bad experience with payday loans… sometimes you’re to blame because you weren’t a responsible borrower. People don’t fully understand the purpose of payday loans… Payday loans are meant to be used for emergency situations to bring financial relief to those who need it. Instead, people use payday loans to pay for vacations and to buy expensive items. 

When people borrow for those reasons, that’s when you land yourself in financial ruin. What was meant to be “financial relief” has now turned into a financial nightmare… you then find yourself renewing the loan each pay period, not being able to pay it off or pay it down. 

Payday Loans
Payday Loans are meant to be used for emergency situations to bring financial relief to those who need it. Instead, people use payday loans to pay for vacations and to buy expensive items.  Pixabay

Borrow Responsibly

The whole reason people find themselves in more debt than they started out in is because they didn’t borrow responsibly. Of course, there are bad companies out to scam you but the secret to do your part and research reputable companies. If you can do that in conjunction with borrowing responsibly you’ll be able to borrow from anywhere.

ALSO READ: Ram Mandir To Be Built In Ayodhya By 2022

Also, a word of advice… learn to make better financial decisions. If there is something that you don’t necessarily need, you shouldn’t buy it, especially if you’d have to take out a loan to get it; it’s just not that serious. Try to only borrow when you absolutely have to.