Continuing its crack down on shell companies, the government on Friday said it has identified over 2.25 lakh companies and 7,191 LLPs which have not filed requisite financial statement for 2015-16 and 2016-17, and they may be struck off during the current fiscal year.
Earlier, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had 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, more than 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.
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.
A task force headed by Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and MCA Secretary Injeti Srinivas was set up in February 2017 to check the menace of shell companies through a coordinated, multi-agency approach.
The task force has compiled a database of shell companies and classified them into 3 categories-- Confirmed list, Derived list and Suspect list.
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.
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.
The ex-directors/authorised signatories of the struck-off companies have been restricted from operating the bank accounts of these companies.
Also, they cannot withdraw any amount from these bank accounts, other than for specified purposes, till the company is restored as per the provisions under Companies Act, it said.
"The task force has met 8 times since its constitution and has taken proactive and coordinated steps to check the menace of shell companies," it added.
Apart from helping the genuine corporates in regularising their pending returns, the Condonation of Delay Scheme, 2018 was brought in. It was effective from January 1, 2018 to May 1, 2018.
A total of 13,993 companies benefitted from the scheme, the ministry said while listing out the achievements of the task force.
The MCA will also be launching an awareness campaign soon to make the public aware of the need to get the registrations of their defunct companies cancelled themselves, it said.
The Standard Operating Procedure for sharing of information among various law enforcement agencies has also been finalised and circulated by Central Economic Intelligence Bureau - the nodal agency for this purpose, it added.
With PTI inputs