In the light of the alleged scam by the Saradha Group, apex industry body ASSOCHAM on Monday urged the Centre to call an all-regulatory authorities’ meeting to work out an effective strategy to curb financial frauds.

It also advised state governments to severely deal with rogue financial companies promising exorbitant return on deposits.

“The government authorities must swiftly stage a commando exercise to unearth the misdeeds of such companies in a proactive manner before another such fake scheme dupes unsuspecting public.

“More so as still at least 60 fraudulent firms like the Saradha Group are actively operating in West Bengal alone and may have amassed huge money by luring depositors through very high interest rate offers,” ASSOCHAM said in a statement released here.

It said there are a number of small and unregistered money laundering firms operating in West Bengal, especially in North and South-24 Parganas, Malda and Birbhum districts.

“It is further suspected that several influential companies with well—networked connections are thriving across the country and remain unnoticed with amounts ranging to several lakh crores still on the burner.”

ASSOCHAM strongly advocated sincere and tough action from the central government to rein in the nefarious activities of such enterprises.

ASSOCHAM said in the wake of growing use of money in elections, there could be a policy to either empower authorities to fund elections or look for a single Financial Sector Code as suggested by the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) covering all financial products and services without any regulatory gaps and overlaps.

“The recommendations of the FSLRC must be reviewed to tone up grey areas and gaps that tempt several risk enduring entrepreneurs to graze the green grass in the financial sector,” it said.

ASSOCHAM suggested holding of regular programmes on a pan—India basis to inform, educate and enlighten the public against ponzi schemes offering unusual returns, among other things.

“Surprisingly, in the last few years most of the ponzi schemes luring depositors through high interest rates remained off the regulatory radar until the depositors and greedy investors were taken for a ride and the surveillance exercise could not overtake the curve to avoid such mishaps in time,” it said.

“Moreover, these firms were clever enough to stay in the grey area in the regulatory system and make their millions, till they collapsed under the weight of their unsustainable schemes,” the industry conglomerate added.