ECONOMY
CRACKDOWN ON SHELL FIRMS
More than 2.25 lakh companies may be struck off
- TEAM PT
More than 2.25 lakh companies may be struck off



Continuing its drive against shell companies, the government-appointed task force has identified nearly 2.25 lakh shell firms which will be removed from the register of companies in the current financial year. 
 
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has already struck off over 2.26 lakh companies for non- filing of financial statements or annual returns for a continuous period of 2 years or more.

Also, over 3.09 lakh directors were disqualified for not filing financial statements or annual returns for preceding 3 years (2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16). "For the second drive to be launched during 2018-19), 2,25,910 companies have been further identified for being struck off under section 248 of the Companies Act, 2013...for non-filing of financial statements for 2015-16 and 2016-17," a finance ministry statement said.
 
Also, 7,191 Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) have been identified for action under section 75 of the LLP Act, 2008 due to non-filing of financial statements for the stated years, it said.
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These companies and LLPs will be given an opportunity of being heard by way of notices regarding their default and the proposed action.
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To check tax evasion and prevent money laundering especially in the wake of demonetisation, the government had constituted a task force last year under the chairmanship of the then revenue secretary and the present finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia and the corporate affairs secretary. 

The task force has compiled a database of shell companies by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

"The significant achievements of the Task Force include the compilation of a database of shell companies by SFIO. This database, as on date, comprises three lists -the Confirmed List, Derived List and Suspect List", the finance ministry said in a statement.
 
The Confirmed List has a total of 16,537 confirmed shell companies on the basis of the information received from the various law enforcement agencies of the companies found to be involved in illegal activities.
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The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has already struck off over 2.26 lakh companies for non- filing of financial statements for a continuous period of 2 years or more.
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The Derived List has 16,739 companies identified on the basis of 100 per cent common directorships with the confirmed shell companies.

The Suspect List has 80,670 shell companies and has been drawn up by SFIO using certain red flag indicators by the task force.

The task force has directed all member of law enforcement agencies to send to Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the details of action taken against Chartered Accountants by them, the statement said.
 
These companies and LLPs will be given an opportunity of being heard by way of notices regarding their default and the proposed action. "Appropriate action will be taken after considering their response," the statement said.
 

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