The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is investigating the operations of the online survey company, which was promising Rs1000 a week for just filing online surveys. The investigation would mainly look into financial irregularities, money collection and remittances abroad. Meanwhile, other pyramid schemes are also making headlines with regularity.
Recently, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) forwarded the complaints filed by Kirit Somaiya, former member of parliament (MP) and national secretary of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) along with the complaints of party MPs Prakash Javdekar and Hansraj Ahir, to the home secretary, finance secretary and ministry of corporate affairs (MCA). In a release, Mr Somaiya said the MCA and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have intimated him that they have started an inquiry and investigation into the functioning of Speak Asia.
Moneylife and its affiliate Moneylife Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes financial literacy, had sent a representation, dated 17 May 2011, to the prime minister, urging him to completely ban MLM companies in India or to bring them under the regulation of either the RBI or SEBI. We also requested urgent intervention to investigate Speak Asia for the ambiguities prevailing over its business model and source of funding.
Moneylife columnist Veeresh Malik also filed a Right to Information (RTI) query on 14th June with the PMO, seeking to know the action taken on the representation sent by Moneylife.
The ministry of corporate affairs had earlier said that it would not take any action against the survey company. “Speak Asia is not registered in India so we cannot initiate any investigation against it. MCA does not have any database of the company,” corporate affairs secretary DK Mittal had told media persons.
Experts point out that since the PMO has also forwarded the complaints to the ministry of corporate affairs, it remains to be seen what action the ministry will take, as they had earlier shown their inability to initiate any investigation