White collar crime is being considered as non-violent crime which is being committed with the sole intention of having financial gains and is mostly characterized by fraud and deceit. With the growth and expansion of the digital or technological mediums, the rate of crimes such as the white collar has also gone high. Based on commission and purpose of acts such as misappropriations, misrepresentations or adulteration the elements or the essentials relating to such public welfare crimes have been ascertained. This involves:
> Existence of any form of conspiracies made by the individuals or members that are holding position of high status.
> Acting deliberately with the object of gaining profit.
> Retain the confidentiality of the trade secrets with the purpose of gaining higher competitive advantage in the market.
> Less strict nature of the sanctions that are being granted to the wrong doers.
Major types of white collar crimes in India
Crimes such as bank frauds are being committed by the commercial banks by falsely representing to the customers. Cases involving negotiable instruments such as bouncing of cheque, securities and other related activities, thereby jeopardizing the relationship of trust and fiduciary against such corporate institutions comes within the purview of bank frauds. One of the most important cases that can be read under this head is Sahara Vs. SEBI (2012) 10 SCC 603. This particular case involved the fact of providing misleading information within the prospectus of the company based on which large numbers of complaints were being raised before the Supreme Court by the investors. Based on the factual circumstances and the claims made by the investors the court ordered the company to refund for almost Rs.5120 Crores.
The people holding higher positions are being provided with money with the objective of insisting the person to carry out their legal duties and responsibilities. In order to curb down the aspects relating to Bribery in the case of Satya Narayan Sharma vs. State of Rajasthan 1AIR 2001 SC 2856 the Supreme Court gave a valuable judgment. The apex court was of the view that in cases where public servants are being accused of any act of corruption under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, the same should not be stayed by any order passed under the code of CrPC. Proper adjudication and investigation of the act should be carried out in conformity to the provision of the Prevention of corruption Act.
This particular crime is being committed by hiding the original statements or ownership of the money gathered as it is the result of getting indulged in to illegal activities. The foremost purpose behind getting involved into the process of laundering is to showcase that the money has been acquired through legal means and thereby making of multiple transfers so as to show the source to be of genuine nature.
In this regard it can be stated that activities like tax evasion are being carried out with the motive of concealing the actual estimation of one’s income that is taxable. With the assistance of various activities that acts as an eye wash to the authorities of Government are being carried out with the motive of lowering down the amount of tax that is payable by the taxpayer. In regard to India it can be stated that the objective of unearthing black money that are being possessed by the population Indian Government did enacted legislation known as The special Bearer Bonds (Immunity and Exemption) Act, 1981. The validity of this concerned legislation was further being assessed in the case of R.K Garg vs. Union of India (1981) where it was being added by SC that the main aim behind this particular Act is to undertake a nationwide search whereby tax payers would be encouraged to disclose the amount of black money possessed in lieu of certain amount of incentive that could be granted for the disclosure.
Food and Drug adulteration
One of the major prevailing nature of white collar crime of which the current Indian society is a victim is the act making adulterated foods and drugs to be sold to the general public thereby causing large amount of damages to health. Based on the recent report that has been submitted by the Ministry of Health of the Government of India it has been demonstrated that approximately 70% of the food and other edible stuff are being adulterated in nature and has the potential of causing health risks and damages to the general public.
Hoarding and black marketing
For the purpose of achieving huge amounts of profits within the business structure activities like hoarding and black marketing are being carried out of the essential commodities that has in recent years increased in India. In order to control such illegal practices the government has initiated specific legislations and regulations such as Trade Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Act 1992, The consumer protection Act 1986 with stringent punishment measures for violators of its provisions and the other offenders.
White Collar Crimes & Indian Penal Code, 1860
Since the Indian Penal Code 1860 provides stringent and specific punishments for offences that falls within the circumference of White Collar Crime discussing the same in detail will assist in the process of analyzing the concerned topic.
As per the definition, Corruption means the prevalence of dishonest intention and illegal behavior which are being exercised by individuals holding positions of authority, power and status. Some of the recent scams and controversies relating to corruption that has been witnessed by the Indian Society involve “2G Spectrum Tele-Communications, Adarsh Housing Society scam” that has put major amount of negative impact on the Indian Society. Within the IPC,1860 the corruptive activities that are being carried out by the Public Servants have been provided with specific sections and Sanctions.
Public Servant unlawfully engaging in Trade
Within the Indian scenario Public servants are being entrusted with the major amount of responsibilities in regard to maintaining proper administration of law and order amongst the whole country. Under Section 168 of the IPC, the Public Servants are being completely debarred from engaging into form of trade or thereby attach unfair advantage on the traders through the use of such official powers.
Within the Indian Context Bribery is being construed as one of the major illegal ways of influencing the decisions of officials and thereby accomplish one’s own target. Sec. 171-B of IPC deals with bribery in which any person voluntarily gives any form of gratification which can be in money or reward with the objective of inducing another person to carry out their duties and the opposite person accepting the concerned gratification for himself or that of the other person are being considered to have committed the offence of Bribery.
Counterfeiting of Government Stamps
The act relating to counterfeiting of government stamps are being considered as a criminal offence within IPC for which specific provision had been provided from Section 255 to 263A. Section 255 of the concerned Act states that under circumstances if any person is engaged in the act of selling any counterfeited government stamp or is related to the process of creating the same shall be held punishable under the said provision. Apart from this, Section 259 of IPC makes the possession of counterfeit coins also illegal with the objective of restraining an individual from preparing to commit any such crime.
Falsification of instruments for Weighing
Being the main and comprehensive criminal legislation in India the IPC, 1860 makes fraudulent use of weights and measures to be a punishable offence under the Act. Section 265 of the concerned Act makes it clear that if any person engages in the act of fraudulent use of weights and thereby depicts the same to be different in weight or measure before others is liable to be punished with an imprisonment of one year or with fine or with both.
Misappropriation of Public property and breach of trust
Section 403 to 409 of IPC deals with the aspect of dishonest misappropriation of property including the criminal breach of trust as well. In regard to the Indian Scenario, it has been seen that the public officials are more engaged in the process of misappropriating the properties of other individuals through the use of positional power and force.
Another aspect of offence which is attached with White Collar crime in India involves the act of Forgery defined under Section 463 of IPC and makes clear that under circumstances whereby any individual creates any false document or electronic record with the intention to receive unlawful gains or injure other party then it is tantamount to the commission of forgery.
Other Rules and legislations for prevention of white collar crime in India
In order to deal with the increased nature and variants of white collar crime, India has adopted different types of legislations that have the potential of covering all such types of scrupulous activities. Some of the major Acts promulgated for the same include:
Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
This particular Act aims at the objective of restricting any form of activities that comes under the ambit of money laundering. Since India is being considered as one of the greatest hub for the generation of large volumes of black money and thereby range of activities are being carried out on the perspective of turning the same in to legal or genuine money.
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
In order to deal with the issues relating to the increased cases of bribery and corruption within India this particular Act focuses to serve a consolidated provision of IPC, CrPC to restrict the same. The three aspects that is public duty, authority and servant has been profoundly defined within the statute with the motive of restricting any government servant to engage in any unlawful activity.
The provisions under the concerned act provides a list of activities that falls within the purview of fraud and specific sanctions have already been assigned to the same. Moreover the nature of all the acts that have been enlisted are to be considered as non cognizable in nature and rules for speedy trial of the same has also been stated under the Act.
Information Technology Act, 2002
With advancement in technology and the development of internet worldwide the generation of cyber crime has also gone high. In India in order to deal with such computer related crimes the Information Technology Act 2002 has been passed. Special section of provisions relating to white collar crimes and their punishments has also been included within the concerned Act so as to prohibit varied nature of online frauds.