Very Short Essay on White Collar Crime in India !
White collar criminality has become a global phenomenon with the advance of commerce and technology. Like any other country, India is equally in the grip of white collar criminality. The reason for enormous increase in white collar crime in recent decades is to be found in the fast developing economy and industrial growth of this developing country.
The Santhanam Committee Report in its findings gave a vivid picture of white collar crimes committed by persons of respectability such as businessmen, industrialists, contractors and suppliers as also the corrupt public officials. Highlighting the magnitude of white collar crime in India, the Commission on ‘Prevention of Corruption’ in its report observed:
“The advance of technological and scientific development is contributing to the emergence of ‘mass society’ with a large rank of file and a small controlling elite, encouraging the growth of monopolies, the rise of a managerial class and intricate institutional mechanisms. Strict adherence to high standard of ethical behaviour is necessary for the even and honest functioning of the new social, political and economic processes. The inability of all sections of society to appreciate this need in full results in the emergence and growth of white collar and economic crimes, renders enforcement of the law-s, themselves not sufficiently deterrent, more-difficult. Tax evasion and avoidance, share-pushing, malpractices in the share market and administration of companies, monopolistic control, usury, under-invoicing or over-invoicing, hoarding, profiteering, substandard performance of contracts of constructions and supply, evasion of economic laws, bribery and corruption, election offences and malpractices are some examples of white collar crime.”
The Commission broadly classified white collar and socio-economic crimes into eight categories and suggested insertion of a new chapter on white collar crimes in the Indian Penal Code.
The matter was referred by the Government to the Law Commission of India for consideration. The Law Commission, however, disagreed with the proposal and observed that “such offences are better left to be dealt with by special and self-contained enactments which supplement the basic criminal law.”
Interestingly, the Report of the Vivin Bose Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of Dalmia-Jain group of companies in 1963 highlights how these big industries indulge in white collar crimes such as fraud, falsification of accounts, tampering with records for personal gains and tax-evasion etc.
Similar observations were made by Mr. Justice M.C. Chagla about the big business magnate Mundhra who wanted to “build up an industrial empire of dubious means.” There were as many as 124 prosecutions against this business tycoon and companies owned or controlled by him between 1958 to 1960 and as many as 113 of them resulted into conviction.