Builders can now Face Multiple Convictions for same Case: HC

The Delhi High Court in a landmark verdict ended the current practice of the Delhi Police to lodge a single FIR in case of cheating of a large number of investors/depositors where for instance, the lone home buyer is treated as a complainant while other affected persons are shown as witnesses in a criminal case.
 
In such situations, many homebuyers are left in the lurch when  the complainant withdraws the case or more often chooses to settle outside court.
 
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and I S Mehta termed as “clearly erroneous and not sustainable in law” the practice“of registering a single FIR on the basis of the complaint of one of the complainants/ victims, and of treating the other complainants/victims as witnesses” as reported by the Times of India.
 
The court said “ it raises a very serious issue with regard to the deprivation of rights of such complainants to pursue their complaints and to ensure that the complainants are brought to justice.”
 
Spelling out the law in this regard, HC was categorical that in a case of inducement, allurement and cheating of a large  number of investors/ depositors, “each deposit by an investor constitutes a separate and individual transaction.” and noted that “all such transactions cannot be amalgamated and clubbed into a single FIR by showing one investor as the complainant and the rest as the witnesses”
 
The court rejected the police stand that only a single FIR is required in cases where all investors/depositors were cheated in pursuance of a single conspiracy. The EOW went on to argue that the commision of multiple acts did not require the registration of separate FIRs for each victim.
 
The court’s answer came on a reference sent to it by additional district and sessions Judge Kamini Lau while dealing with a case involving 1,852 different victims cheated in a ponzi  scheme.
 
In the process the High Court made it clear that such offences can have multiple FIRs registered against it.
 
The HC also held that a limit on the quantum of sentence imposed by the CrPC (where courts award concurrent jail terms in a single trial for more than one IPC section) won’t apply to these cases, where an economic offenders faces multiple trials which can result in more than one conviction.This means trial courts can now give consecutive prison terms where the second term starts only once when the first term ends.

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Changes in Our Business Model
 
 
25th Sept 2020
 
Greetings from Moneylife Advisory Services
 
Between financial years 2019-21, SEBI has come up with extensive changes to investor advisor regulations. On Sep 23, 2020, SEBI had issued new additional guidelines. This comes just two months after extensive changes announced in July 2020. Earlier, in December 2019 there was an ad hoc circular
 
As a result of these changes, IAs, cannot accept fees through credit cards, will have to sign a 26-clause investor agreement, have to maintain physical record written & signed by client, telephone recording, emails, SMS messages and any other legally verifiable record for five years. IAs were already asked to record the suitability and rationale for every piece of advice given, sign them and store them for five years.
 
While these extensive and frequent changes, designed to strengthen the conduct of IAs are well-meaning, these have sharply increased compliance efforts and cost. We, being online advisors, find many of changes harder to implement, compared to advisors working in the physical space. We will have to have an army of advisors, administrative and tech staff to be compliant. If we do this, we will have to divert money to these areas and the cost of our service will double. We want to remain the least-cost service in the market to benefit more and more people. In the circumstances, we are forced to change our business model from “advisory” to “research”. This will mean the following:
 
What remains the same:
  • Recommendations on insurance, investment and Lion stocks, will continue as a part of the MAS premium subscription. Our strength has always been research and this will remain available to you through our recommendations.
  • The magazine and all textual content will remain as part of the service
  • We will have to suspend the restructuring tool.
 
What changes:
  • The interactions in Ask / Handholding will offer investment advice but not specific to your situation. It will offer information on investment products and also clarify your doubts about various financial products. It will be a forum for information, not for advice. This will be implemented with immediate effect and our guidelines in Ask, reflect this now.
 
Over the next few weeks our site and our communication to you will reflect these and other additional changes.
 
We feel this will not affect you much in terms of what really matters in investing: knowing what to buy and when to buy. This is our edge and it will still be available to you.
 
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Debashis Basu
Founder