By Harpreet Kaur, Advocate                        

MORE MONEY IS STOLEN AT POINT OF FOUNTAIN PEN THAN AT GUN-POINT

INTRODUCTION

The media increasingly report cases of business or professional people caught out in serious offences, sometimes for behaviour which they did not expect to be treated as criminal and for which it is often difficult to secure a conviction. These crimes are of the nature of white collar crimes which is the essential outcome of the development of the competent economy of the twenty-first century[1]. White collar crime affects key areas of contemporary life. Financial ‘scandals’ such as the collapse of major banks and pension frauds question the legitimacy of the financial world, and the climate of ‘sleaze’ has become a political issue. Tax and public sector fraud reduces government resources for health, education and welfare. The harmful activities of corporations endanger the safety of workers, consumers and passengers, and have a wider impact on public health and the environment[2]. Although these activities are subject to criminal law and criminal justice, they are not regarded as crime in the same way as burglary, robbery or assault, and they are less likely to prompt calls for tougher policing and punishment. It is not common, for example, to hear demands for ‘zero tolerance’ of fraudsters or antisocial behaviour orders for companies.

One of the most important aspect of white collar crime is that at times, the members of community themselves contribute to the commission of various white collar crimes willingly or unwillingly[3]. For instance, illegal gratification to public servants to get their work done quickly, black-marketing in times of scarcity, evasive price violations, rent-ceiling violations etc. are some of the common examples where ‘victims’ of the crime are themselves to be blamed for involvement in white collar criminality. In fact, such crimes cannot be committed unless there is a illegal demand for illegal favour from consumers and they are actively involved in the deal.

SUTHERLAND’S CONCEPT OF WHITE COLLAR CRIMES

The concept of white collar crimes evolved with the Criminologist and Sociologist Edwin H. Sutherland, in the year 1939, who popularised the term white collar crimes by defining such a crime as “one committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”. Sutherland also included crimes committed by corporations and other legal entities within his definition.

Sutherland’s study of white collar crime was prompted by the view that criminology had incorrectly focused on social and economic determinants of crime, such as family background and level of wealth. It is true to the common knowledge that there are certain professions which offer lucrative opportunities for criminal acts and unethical practises which is very often overlooked by the general mass of the society. There have been crooks and unethical persons in business, various other professions, who tend to become unscrupulous because of no reason apart from the thirst of gaining more and more for themselves. These deviants have least regard for ethical and moral human values. Therefore they carry on their illegal activities with impunity without the fear of loss of respect and prestige[4]. Sutherland pointed out that white collar crimes differ from the crimes committed by the criminal syndicates. This distinction could be based on extent of presumed respectability[5].

Sutherland further pointed out that a white collar crime is more harmful than ordinary crimes because the financial loss to society from white collar crimes is far greater than the financial loss from burglaries, robberies, larcenies etc[6]. Comparing the financial losses resulting from white-collar crimes with those from ordinary crimes, he observes[7]:

                The average loss per burglary is less than one hundred dollars, a burglary which yields as much as fifty thousand dollars is exceedingly rare and a million-dollar burglary is practically unknown. On the other hand, there may be several million-dollar embezzlements reported in one year. Embezzlements, however, are peccadilloes compared with the large-scale crimes committed by corporations, investment trusts and public utilities holding companies, reports of fifty-million dollar losses from such criminal behaviour are by no means uncommon[8].

Sutherland carefully examined the depredations of about seventy large corporations involved in white collar crimes and found that the charges against them included contracts, combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade, misrepresentation in advertising, infringements against copyrights, financial frauds and violations of trust, breach of war-regulations and other miscellaneous offences. But people knew very little about the trickery of these big business criminals and even if they knew, they were apathetic towards the problem because of the fact that “the legal battles involved therein are dragged out for years in the courts, with the result that the charges are forgotten long before they are settled”[9].

CRITICISM OF SUTHERLAND’S DEFINITION

  • Anthony Wlash and Lee Ellis[10] in their book writes that “although this definition became enshrined for a long time and it governed research for a long time, it was wrong in three important ways:
  • Many (perhaps most) white collar criminal are not of ‘high social status,
  • Many are not otherwise respectable people, and
  • It fails to distinguish between crimes committed on behalf of employer with the employer’s blessings and support and crimes committed by individuals acting for personal gain”.
  • Coleman and Moynihan[11] pointed out that lack of definitive criteria for determining who are ‘persons of high respectability and high social status’ has made Sutherland’s definition most controversial. It seems like what Sutherland meant by this is absence from convictions for crimes other than white collar crimes. The element of ‘high social status’ as used in the definition leads to confusion.
  • Ram Ahuja in his book[12] writes that Sutherland’s emphasis on ‘high social status’ offender results in exclusion of a host of other occupation-related crimes that are similar to white-collar crimes but are committed by the lower class people. For example, illegalities such as adulteration of milk by milkman for public consumption, making unnecessary ‘repairs’ to radio and television sets by the workman and taking out few kilos of gas from gas cylinder etc.
  • The term white-collar crime served to focus attention on the social position of the perpetrators and added a bite to commentaries about the illegal acts of businessmen, professionals and politicians that is notably absent in the blander designations[13], such as “occupational crime[14]” and “economic crime[15]”. The term “white collar crime” is narrower as it makes reference only to socio-economic status and not to occupational status of the offender[16]. In other words, it includes even those violations of law which are not committed in course of occupation or profession and these violations do not necessarily belong to the upper strata of society or the so-called ‘prestigious groups’. For example, tax evasion is not committed only by persons of high status but it can be committed by persons belonging to meddle or even lower strata of society[17].

OTHER DEFINITIONS

Marshall Clinard defined white-collar crime as “a violation of the law committed primarily by groups such as businessmen, professional men, and politicians in connection with their occupations”[18].

Paul Tappan defined it as “White collar crime is a special type of solitary professional criminality. It involves real violation of criminal law systematically or repeated by business, professional and clerical workers in addition to their occupation[19].”

Also, Sir Walter Reckless said “White collar crime represents the offences of businessmen who are in position to determine the policies and activities of business”[20].

Frank Hartung[21] defines white-collar crime as a “violation of law regarding business which is committed for a firm by a firm or its agents in the conduct of its business”.

Moreover, in its Administration Improvement Act (AIA) of 1979, the U.S. Congress defined white collar crimes as “illegal act or series of illegal acts committed non-physical means and by concealment or guile, to obtain money or property, or to obtain business or personal advantage”[22]. This definition focuses on characteristics of the offence as opposed to Sutherland’s focus on the offender as a high-status person. Although avoiding the problem of social status, AIA definition fails to differentiate between persons who commit crimes for personal gain and those who do so primarily on behalf of the employer.

ELEMENTS OF WHITE COLLAR CRIMES

The main elements of white collar crimes are[23]:

  • It involves violation of legal codes.
  • It takes place directly or indirectly in connection with a legitimate occupation.
  • It aims at gaining money.
  • The crime is not against a specific individual or a firm but is against society at large. There is therefore, no specific victim who would complain.
  • Earlier on ‘a person of high status’ committing this crime was considered a (white-collar) criminal but now a ‘person of any class violating law (different from one who commits an immoral or unethical act) in the course of occupational activity’ is described as an occupational offender.
  • The person involved in white collar crimes generally selects that crime which involves high stakes but carries the most negligible danger of detection and identification. Further, it is most negligible crime against which the victims are least likely to fight.
  • The offender does not regard himself as a criminal but considers himself as a respectable citizen. At the most, he regards himself ‘a lawbreaker whose act has no victim’[24].
  • The persons involved in illegal occupational activity adopt a policy of ‘fixing’ cases. It is not only the law-enforcement officers are ‘fixed-up’ but the services of politicians, bureaucrats and influential people are also used for ‘protection’.
  • The effect of this crime of much more serious for society than an ordinary crime.

CAUSATION OF WHITE COLLAR CRIMES

According to Hirschi and Gottfredson,[25] occupational crimes differ from common street crime only in that it is committed by people in a position to do so- Medical fraud can be only done by physicians and bank embezzlements can only be committed by bank employees in the position of trust. The motives of white collar crimes are same as those of street criminals- to obtain benefits quickly with minimal efforts and the age, sex and race of occupational criminals are not that much different from those of street criminals. Hirschi and Gottfredson concluded that “when opportunity is taken into account, demographic differences in white collar crimes are same as the demographic differences in ordinary crime”.

For Shapiro[26], the study of white collar crimes belongs to the wider study of maintenance and abuse of trust. Attention should focus on the rising need to rely on the agents and the consequent increased exposure to the risks of their malpractices. Trust is required in so far as it is difficult to tell when agents are putting their self-interests above those principles, especially as they tend to be repeat players and to act at a distance; but efforts needs to limit their discretion are self-defeating. To understand causation there therefore needs to be the marriage of a systematic understanding of the distribution of structural opportunities for trust abuse with an understanding of conditions under which individual seize or ignore these illicit opportunities.

Marshal B. Clinard[27] asserted that the problem of white collar criminality has its roots in competitive business community which tries to oust their rival competitors in order to earn huge profits. Sometimes such crimes may also be committed merely for the sake of retaining existence in the competitive business. To illustrate[28], though there is a prescribed code of ethics for practising lawyers but since the very nature of their profession involves the spirit of combat and competition, they often resort unlawful tactics such as concealment or misrepresentation of facts which if detected, is punishable under the law. Likewise, the members of industrial and business class who enjoy high status in the society have a tendency to suppress their profits by furnishing false and fabricated accounts of their income and property in order to claim tax-exemptions or avoid payment of heavy taxes.

Proponents of ‘strain’ theories have tried to explain the causation of white collar crimes. Most strain theories[29] of corporate crime find their inspiration in Merton’s concept of anomie[30]. White collar crimes can be seen as ‘innovative’ response on the part of businesses to strain of conforming to cultural prescriptions to maintain profits even in difficult circumstances. The strain may be located in the business environment as such in the particular industry or in particular firm.

Sutherland has explained the process of becoming a white collar-criminal through ‘differential association’[31]. However, he cautiously concluded that white collar crime has not yet been fully explained. According to him, some white collar offences represent ‘normal’ business procedures which are passed on as a part of the occupational subculture. Such procedures are rationalised by resorting to the ideology ‘business is business’[32]. A new entrant to a business activity not only learns all the unethical practices but is also sometimes made to use such tactics by his superiors in the establishment. The rapid pace of social change and the technical complexity of business affairs have aggravated social disorganization favourable to unethical business practices.

Clinard, while agreeing with the ‘differential association’ approach of Sutherland, is of view that all cases cannot explained by the theory[33]. Many businessmen do not commit such offences despite their knowledge of the techniques employed in these crimes.

TYPES OF WHITE COLLAR CRIMES

Herbert Edelhertz[34] has suggested the four types of occupational crimes on the basis of motivation of the perpetrators:

  • Crimes committed by persons on an individual basis, e.g., income-tax evasion, bankruptcy frauds, credit purchases or taking loans with no intention to pay and insurance fraud.
  • Crimes committed in the course of occupations by those operating in business, government or other establishments, in violation of their duty of loyalty to the employer or client; e.g., bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement and pilfering.
  • Crimes incidental to and in furtherance of business operations but not central to business purposes; e.g., food and drug violations, misrepresentation in advertising and prescription fraud.
  • Crime as a business or as the central activity of a business; e.g., medical fraud schemes, lottery fraud schemes, mutual fund fraud schemes, land and real estate frauds, charity and religious frauds and music pirating.

In USA, the classification was done on the basis of crimes involved[35]:

  1. Frauds in business in relation to sale of bonds and investments;
  2. Adulteration of foods and drugs and misleading advertisements;
  3. Malpractices in the medical profession, such as illegal services to underworld criminals, fraudulent reports and testimony in accident cases, extreme cases of unnecessary treatment, fake specialists, restriction of competition and fee splitting;
  4. Crimes by lawyers, such as guiding criminal or quasi-criminal activities of corporations, twisting of testimony to give a false picture, fake claims (bogus liability in accidents) etc.;
  5. Trusts, cartels, combines, syndicates etc. formed to combat competition or to raise prices or otherwise to interfere with the freedom of trade to the detriment of honest businessmen or the consuming public. This has now become a branch of law by itself and is usually dealt with under the topic of “anti-trust legislation”;
  6. Bribery and graft by public officers[36].

Also, Hugh Barlow[37] has classified occupational crimes in six categories on the basis of special interests: embezzlement, financial fraud, adulteration, employee pilferage, consumer fraud and shady land business.

ARE WHITE COLLAR CRIMES DISTINCT FROM OTHER CRIMES?

Definition of white collar crime implies that it can be distinguished from what are often, for comparative purposes, described as conventional or ordinary crimes. A number of distinctive features of white collar crime have been identified, some of which are a direct consequence of the location of offences in occupational roles, whereas others have been more often associated with the class and status of offenders. Although these are useful tools for comparison, it is not easy to draw clear dividing lines between different crime categories and that there are also variations between different kinds of white collar crime. A number of characteristics are closely related to the occupational nature of offences. Because they take place in the private sphere of the workplace they are relatively invisible and can be concealed more easily because ‘business offenders are legitimately present at the scene’[38]. Because they are committed during the course of an occupation, they involve an abuse of the trust inherent in an occupational role[39]. Offences are made possible by the use of some form of technical or ‘insider’ knowledge, which may be an awareness of how to use organizational routines to conceal offending or may involve the abuse of professional, scientific or financial ‘expertise[40]. This makes many offences complex, and the extent, duration and details of offending are difficult to determine. Many are highly organized and involve several participants with differing degrees of responsibility. In many cases, determining who is responsible is difficult because of the diffusion of responsibility in organizations, where responsibility for particular tasks is delegated, enabling participants to ‘blame’ others up or down the hierarchy.

White Collar Offences also involve different patterns of victimization, and many offences are characterized as victimless[41]. Some offences, such as the sale of short weight goods or abstracting small amounts of money from a large number of customers’, investors’, or clients’ accounts, lead to small losses to individual victims. Victims may not be aware of any harm, which is also the case with offences such as food adulteration or safety offences. Other kinds of crime affect the ‘public health’ or ‘the environment’ rather than individual victims and, in other cases, effects are immeasurable and indirect. Corruption, for example, involves exchanges of money or favours, in which the ‘criminal’ element is the abuse of trust and the effect is on the legitimacy of institutions such as business, public service or political organizations. This can be contrasted with the immediate, direct and measurable victimization involved in, for example, an assault or robbery[42]. Victims’ lack of awareness and the invisibility and complexity of offences make them difficult to detect, and difficulties of attributing responsibility and obtaining evidence also make offences difficult to prosecute. This leads to a relatively low rate of detection and prosecution. In addition, many offenders receive what are seen as lenient sentences, which are also related to the absence of intent, lack of direct victimization and the ambivalent criminal status of offences.

The ambiguous legal and criminal status of white collar crimes is a further characteristic, which is also related to their treatment in the criminal justice process. In many offences there is an apparent lack of intent, particularly where a diffusion of responsibility is involved, and where, although a regulation may have been broken, the consequences of that violation, such as injury, were not intended. This means that the moral element so important to the definition of crime is absent. Differences in the legal processing of white collar crimes are therefore related to their particular characteristics, although a major issue is how much they are also related to the class and status of offenders.

Problems in differentiating a white collar crime and conventional crime:

  • Some conventional crimes are also invisible, particularly those that take place in the private sphere of the family. Some, like burglary or robbery, involve considerable expertise and can also be highly organized and complex, which makes them similarly difficult to detect.
  • Moreover, successful professional criminals delegate responsibility to minimize the risk of being detected and prosecuted.
  • Not all conventional crime involves immediately harmed victims and those crimes that involve willing exchanges between consenting adults, such as gambling, prostitution or drug offences, are also represented as ‘victimless’ and pose particular problems for detection and prosecution.
  • A further problem with broad contrasts is that not all white collar crimes share all these characteristics. Not all offences are equally invisible – some frauds, safety or food offences are immediately detectable. Their location in occupational roles means that most white collar crimes do involve an abuse of occupational trust, but occupational roles vary in the extent to which employees are trusted and offences involve varying degrees of knowledge and expertise.
  • Not all white collar crimes involve complex organization – employees may simply steal money or goods and neglect of regulations may arise from ignorance or incompetence. Patterns of victimization vary, with some having a direct and severe impact, including death, injury and heavy financial losses. Some white collar offences are more unambiguously criminal than others – few would dispute, for example, that serious frauds are crimes, and some offences more clearly involve intent than others. And as will be seen in subsequent chapters, not all white collar crimes enjoy lenient treatment.

No clear dividing line can therefore be drawn between white collar and other crimes, and many of these characteristics would be better seen as representing a series of continua. Nelken[43], for example, points out that organized crime involves cases of cold-blooded calculation and those cases where it is difficult to distinguish malevolence from incompetence, and also points to a continuum between accidental and deliberate, although for other crimes the criminal sanction is less problematic.

IS WHITE COLLAR CRIME A CRIME?

Sutherland’s original inclusion of activities subject to civil and administrative laws raised the question of how the harmful activities of different groups of offenders were treated differently by law and criminal justice, but was widely criticized as threatening the objectivity of criminology. This led to many debates centred around the theme ‘is white collar crime, crime?’ Although this question becomes less problematic once the socially constructed nature of crime is acknowledged, any consideration of which activities are to be included must nonetheless take into account the significance of law and criminal law. Adopting a legal definition of crime may be seen as overly restrictive, but including activities not subject to criminal law continues to attract criticisms of political and moral subjectivity[44] .

Criticisms from writers such as Tappan[45] represented a strictly legal approach in which the criminal law is the starting point for criminological analysis. Sutherland, however, argued that non-criminal forms of law also result in judgements of fault and liability and are followed by the imposition of a penalty; thus the difference lies in procedures rather than in the ‘wrongful’ nature of activities. Later critical approaches to criminal law have also pointed to the absence of any clear-cut criteria distinguishing ‘crimes’ from other ‘wrongs’ or criminal from public law. In criminal law a distinction is made between activities that are regarded as mala in se, wrong in themselves, and those that are regarded as mala prohibita, subject to prohibition.

For the latter, the criminal law is justified as being the most efficient way of securing compliance with protective regulations, and violations are often seen as ‘technical’ rather than ‘criminal’ offences. Many complained that white collar crimes are merely technically criminal and not socially considered in a par with ordinary crimes; hence they do not satisfy the sociological definition of crime[46]. Nelken pointed out, ‘the topic of white collar crime thus illustrates the possibility of divergence between legal social and political definitions of criminality – but in so doing it reminds us of the artificiality of all definitions of crime’[47].

WHITE COLLAR CRIMES IN CERTAIN PROFESSIONS IN INDIA

Legal Profession: In India, the lawyer’s profession is not looked with much respect with much respect these days. There are two obvious reasons for this. The deteriorating standards of legal education and unethical practices resorted to by the members of legal profession which was once considered to be one of the noblest vocations[48]. A large number of advocates evolved, who forget the pious oath of serving the society and started looking for the legal loopholes and concentrated mainly in helping out the rich entrepreneurs to grow richer. They made extensive study to try out ways for maximum tax evasion for these rich corporate personalities as well as for themselves. The white collar crimes committed by these legal practitioners only confine in sorting out illegal methods of tax-evasion. There are very frequent instances of unscrupulous and unethical practices like that of fabricating false evidence, engaging professional witnesses, thereby violating ethical standards of legal profession and dilatory tactics in collusion with the ministerial staff of the courts[49].

Medical Profession: In India, the white collar crimes are so wide spread that it does not confine itself in the legal arena. Similar unfortunate instances can be drawn from other professions too, like that of medical practitioners, engineers, educationalists, businessmen, politicians and the list goes on. The medical practitioners are often found involved in issuance of false certificates, carrying out illegal abortions, selling out sample drugs and medicine, even in some cases adulterated drugs and medicines to the patients. Dilatory tactics are often adopted by them in providing treatment to their patients with a menswear to extract huge amount of money, no matter the person has good practice. Some of the notorious instances are like that of Nithari case, where the medical professionals put up before the society the optimum level of brutal character they can reach for the crave of making money[50]. Misleading and fake advertisement is yet another area in which the white collar criminals operate. They make illegal and misleading claims of medical cure through advertisements in newspapers, magazines, radio and television thus adding to human misery. Similar advertisements for cosmetics and adulterated food are also widespread in practices which are injurious to public health[51]. These persons may not violate the letter of the law in its spirit but they commit crimes which are anti-social and injurious to public health.

Engineering: Speaking of the engineers’ role in having their role to play in white collar crimes, we often find instances of underhand dealing with contractors, suppliers, passing of sub-standard works and maintenance of bogus reports of the labour works. They financially earn more for their low grade works from the contractors, than they can earn for the genuine work. Therefore, many of them, out of the greed of earning more and more, play dangerously with thousands of lives of the individuals[52]. Scandals of this kind are reported in newspapers and magazines almost every day. Construction of buildings, roads, canals, dams and bridges with sub-standard material not only endangers public safety but also results into huge loss to public exchequer[53].

Education: Another field where white collar crimes operate with impunity are the privately run educational institutions in this country. The governing bodies of these institutions manage to secure large sums by way of government grants or financial aid by submitting fictitious and fake details about their institutions. The teachers and other staff working in these institutions receive a meagre salary far less than what they actually sign for, thus allowing a big margin for the management to grab huge amount in this illegal manner[54]. They are least bothered in providing the education, but only concentrate of making business at the cost of the children‘s future. Even rackets operate in these institutions for procuring students to appear in the examinations on the basis of manipulated eligibility certificates, thereby damaging the standard of education in India. When it comes to the Governmental institutions, the teachers and staffs of the institutions are often found to be involved in unscrupulous practices, since they can hardly make fortune from the inadequate salary they receive from the government. Teachers often drag the students for taking private tuitions and even go to the extent of blackmailing them of ruining their future, if they deny doing so[55].

Corporate World: The major role in committing white collar crimes are played by the business tycoons and politicians, whose greed and wants multiply with the more they acquire. In India, whenever any major scandal comes to the media focus, a thorough investigation always finds an unlawful involvement of political parties in it. So far as the businessmen are concerned, their acts of white collar crimes go beyond count. They are termed as the corporate criminals who more often than not, are involved in illegal contracts, combination and conspiracies of trade restraints, unfair labour practices, selling of adulterated foods and drugs, bribing of public officials so on and so forth. They take advantage of the corporate veil and indulged in a number of crimes. The recent Satyam scam case is one of the worth-mentioning illustrations, where it was seen how an individual, hiding himself in the veil of incorporation, indulge in defrauding crores of money[56].

Sutherland attributed the highest degree of criminality to business world which includes traders, businessmen and industrialists. It has been held that “business communities in India of large and small merchants are basically dishonest bunch of crooks….nowhere in the world do businessmen get rich as quickly as they do in India”[57]. The Report of the Monopolies Inquiry Commission expressed great concern about the chronic problem of hoarding, profiteering and black-marketing of essential commodities by traders in India. In times of shortage and scarcity of consumer commodities, the traders withdraw the stock and subsequently dispose it of at exorbitant prices[58].

Although bribery is an offence under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and both bribe-taker as well as the bribe-giver are equally punishable, but commercial agents and public officials indulge in illegal gratification for their personal gain and the legal restraints provided for the purpose are hardly adequate to cure this menace[59]. It may, however, be pointed out that all bribery cases are not only those illegal activities which the persons of prestigious group, high social status commit in course of their legitimate business or occupation for financial gain.

Adulteration of edible foodstuffs is also frequently committed by businessmen which is injurious to public health. The sale and production of spurious drugs and sub-standard medicines by manufacturers is yet another white collar crime which enables businessmen to earn huge illegal profits[60]. The evil has become so widespread and persistent that it is difficult to get even air, water and light unpolluted. The constant rise in price and cost of living has made the consumers cost-conscious. The unscrupulous traders take undue advantage of the situation and provide adulterated articles of food, drinks or drugs etc. at a cheaper rate and earn huge profits[61]. They even do not hesitate to add poisonous constituents to articles of food and drinks which are injurious to health. A number of deaths are reported every year due to consumption of spurious liquor or food poisoning[62].

White collar crimes also operate in insurance business where both the insured as well as insurer earn considerable profit by making false and fabricated claims. Instances are not wanting when intentional house-burning, automobile destruction and even murders are planned by the persons of respectable community in order to make good fortunes from the manipulated insurance claims[63].

LIST OF SCAMS IN INDIA[64]

  • 1992 -Harshad Mehta securities scam Rs 5,000 cr[65]
  • 1994 -Sugar import scam Rs 650 cr[66]
  • 1995 -Preferential allotment scam Rs 5,000 cr
    – Yugoslav Dinar scam Rs 400 cr
    – Meghalaya Forest scam Rs 300 cr
  • 1996: -Fertiliser import scam Rs 1,300 cr
    – Urea scam Rs 133 cr[67]
    – Bihar fodder scam Rs 950 cr[68]
  • 1997 -Sukh Ram telecom scam Rs 1,500 cr[69]
    – SNC Lavalin power project scam Rs 374 cr
    – Bihar land scandal Rs 400 cr
    – C.R. Bhansali stock scam Rs 1,200 cr
  • 1998 -Teak plantation swindle Rs 8,000 cr [70]
  • 2001 -UTI scam Rs 4,800 cr
    – Dinesh Dalmia stock scam Rs 595 cr
    – Ketan Parekh securities scam Rs 1,250 cr
  • 2002 -Sanjay Agarwal Home Trade scam Rs 600 cr
  • 2003 -Telgi stamp paper scam Rs 172 cr
  • 2005 -IPO-Demat scam Rs 146 cr
    – Bihar flood relief scam Rs 17 cr
    – Scorpene submarine scam Rs 18,978 cr
  • 2006 – Punjab ‘s City Centre project scam Rs 1,500 cr,
    – Taj Corridor scam Rs 175 cr[71]
  • 2008 -Pune billionaire Hassan Ali Khan tax default Rs 50,000 cr
    – The Satyam scam Rs 10,000 cr
    – Army ration pilferage scam Rs 5,000 cr
    – The 2-G spectrum swindle Rs 60,000 cr
    – State Bank of Saurashtra scam Rs 95 cr
    – Illegal monies in Swiss banks, as estimated in 2008 Rs 71,00,000 cr
  • 2009: -The Jharkhand medical equipment scam Rs 130 cr
    – Rice export scam Rs 2,500 cr
    – Orissa mine scam Rs 7,000 cr[72]
    – Madhu Koda mining scam Rs 4,000 cr[73]
  • 2010: – 2G Spectrum Scam worth Rs. 176000 cr
  •  2011: -Maharastra Adarsh Housing Society scam

                         -Tatra scam – Rs. 7.5 billion (US$120 million)

                         -NTRO scam – Rs.8 billion (US$130 million)

  • 2012:- Indian Coal Mining Controversy Rs. 185591.34 cr

-Karnatka Wakf Board Scam Rs. 200000 cr

                         -UttarPradesh NRHM scam Rs. 10000cr

  • 2013:- Virbhadra Singh Bribery Controversy Rs. 2.4 cr[74]

SUGGESTIONS

  • Creating public awareness against these crimes through the media of press, platform and other audio-visual aids. Intensive legal literacy programmes may perhaps help in reducing the incidence of white collar criminality to a considerable extent.
  • Special tribunals should be constituted with the power to award sentence of imprisonment up to fourteen years for white collar criminals.
  • Stringent regulatory laws and drastic punishment for these criminals may help in preventing these crimes. It was observed in H. Haskot v. State of Maharasthra[75] that white collar offenders should be dealt with sternly by prescribing stiffer punishments keeping in view the gravity caused society because of these crimes. The Supreme Court said “soft sentencing justice is gross injustice where many innocents are the potential victims”.
  • A separate chapter on white collar crimes and socio-economic offences should be incorporated in IPC.

CONCLUSION

White collar crime is, therefore, a complex area to conceptualize. It remains on the sidelines of criminology and poses analytical, definitional and research problems. Many of the issues surrounding its definition and its relationship to other crimes remain unresolved and affect estimates of its extent, explorations of its nature and impact and approaches to its analysis. It asks major questions about the definition of crime, the role of class status and power in criminalization and law enforcement and the scope of criminology. White collar crime is used as an umbrella term encompassing both occupational and organizational crime. It is intended to be inclusive, including activities of employees across the occupational hierarchy along with many harmful and illegal activities that are not at present regulated by criminal law. This avoids the narrowness of referring only to criminal law at the same time as avoiding the subjectivity of ignoring law entirely. Adopting an inclusive definition of the subject means that its scope is extremely broad, and that it includes activities ranging from the crimes of individual employees and small businesses, through those of managers, executives and owners of companies, to corporate crime and crimes of governments and states, such as war crimes or the state-organized terrorism.

[1]Dr. J. Khaja Sheriff & G. Nagarajan, White Collar Crimes In India, International Journal Of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, Vol.1, Issue 9, September 2012, Issn :2277 3630, available at http://Indianresearchjournals.Com/Pdf/Ijssir/2012/September/16.Pdf

[2] Hazel Croall, Understanding White Collar Crimes, Bukhingham: Open University Press, 2001, available at https://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/openup/chapters/0335204279.pdf

[3] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.127

[4]Dr. J. Khaja Sheriff & G. Nagarajan, White Collar Crimes In India, International Journal Of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, Vol.1, Issue 9, September 2012, Issn :2277 3630, available at http://Indianresearchjournals.Com/Pdf/Ijssir/2012/September/16.Pdf

[5] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.125

[6] Supra note 5, p.126

[7] Ahmed Siddique’s Criminology: Problems and Perspectives, Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 2005, 5th ed., p.406

[8] Sutherland, Crime and Business, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1941, p.112 cited at Ahmed Siddique, p. 406

[9] Akshat Khare, Doctrinal Report on White Collar Crimes, available at http://www.mosonleexparts.org/Articals/Doctrinal_report-by_Akshat_Khare.pdf

[10] Anthony Walsh & Lee Ellis, Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach, New Delhi: Sage Publications, p. 399

[11] Coleman & Moynihan, Understanding Criminal Data, 1996, pp. 8-10, cited at Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.128

[12] Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, p. 173

[13] Anil Kumar, Criminology: Principles and Concepts, Delhi: Ancient Publishing House, 1st ed., 2011, p. 127

[14] Occupational crimes refer to those illegal activities that occur in connection with person’s job or work.

[15] Economic crimes can be defined as crimes of profit which take place within the framework of commercial activity.

[16] Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, p.173

[17] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.128

[18] Marshall Clinard, The Black Market (New York: Rinehart and Co., 1952) p. 127 cited at Kam C Wong, From White-Collar Crime to Organizational Crime: An Intellectual History, Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MurUEJL/2005/14.html

[19] Sanjay S. Bang, A Critical Study Of White Collar Crimes In India, available at http://researchaccess.in/DOCS/Critical_study_of_white_collar_crime.docx

[20] Ibid.

[21] American Journal of Sociology, July 1950, pp.25-30 cited at Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, p. 172

[22] Anthony Walsh & Lee Ellis, Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach, New Delhi: Sage Publications, p. 399

[23] Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, pp.173-174

[24] Ibid.

[25] T. Hirschi & M. Gottfredson, Causes of White Collar Crimes, (1987) cited at Anthony Walsh & Lee Ellis, Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach, New Delhi: Sage Publications, p. 401

[26]Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan & Robert Reiner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p.854

[27] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.129

[28] Ibid.

[29] Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan & Robert Reiner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p.855

[30] Anomie refers to “a condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals”. It is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community e.g. if under unruly scenarios resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.

[31] Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, p.186

[32] Ahmed Siddique’s Criminology: Problems and Perspectives, Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 2005, 5th ed., p.420

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, p. 174

[35] Law Commission Report, No.29, 1966, pp.10-11, cited at Ahmed Siddique’s Criminology: Problems and Perspectives, Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 2005, 5th ed., p. 407

[36] Taft and England, Criminology, p.200 cited at Ahmed Siddique’s Criminology: Problems and Perspectives, Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 2005, 5th ed., p. 407

[37] Man, Crime and Society, 1970, pp. 227-230, cited at Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, p.175

[38] Hazel Croall, Understanding White Collar Crimes, Bukhingham: Open University Press, 2001, available at https://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/openup/chapters/0335204279.pdf

[39] Shapiro cited at Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan & Robert Reiner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p.854

[40] T. Hirschi & M. Gottfredson, Causes of White Collar Crimes, (1987) cited at Anthony Walsh & Lee Ellis, Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach, New Delhi: Sage Publications, p. 401

[41] Ram Ahuja, Criminology, New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000, pp.173-174

[42] Ibid.

[43] Supra note 41.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Paul W. Tappan, Who is Criminal?, American Sociological Review, 1977, cited at Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan & Robert Reiner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p.854

[46] Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan & Robert Reiner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp.852-853

[47] Hazel Croall, Understanding White Collar Crimes, Bukhingham: Open University Press, 2001, available at https://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/openup/chapters/0335204279.pdf

[48] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.133

[49] Dr. J. Khaja Sheriff & G. Nagarajan, White Collar Crimes In India, International Journal Of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, Vol.1, Issue 9, September 2012, Issn :2277 3630, available at http://Indianresearchjournals.Com/Pdf/Ijssir/2012/September/16.Pdf

[50] Ibid.

[51] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.133

[52] Dr. J. Khaja Sheriff & G. Nagarajan, White Collar Crimes In India, International Journal Of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, Vol.1, Issue 9, September 2012, Issn :2277 3630, available at http://Indianresearchjournals.Com/Pdf/Ijssir/2012/September/16.Pdf

[53] Supra note 41.

[54] Supra note 42, p.134

[55] Dr. J. Khaja Sheriff & G. Nagarajan, White Collar Crimes In India, International Journal Of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, Vol.1, Issue 9, September 2012, Issn :2277 3630, available at http://Indianresearchjournals.Com/Pdf/Ijssir/2012/September/16.Pdf

[56] Ibid.

[57] N.R.M Menon’s unpublished dissertation entitled, A Socio-legal Study of White Collar Crime in India, 1968, cited at Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.135

[58] Report of the Monopolies Inquiry Commission, 1965, p. 165, cited at Anil Kumar, Criminology: Principles and Concepts, Delhi: Ancient Publishing House, 1st ed., 2011, p.145

[59] R.S. Nayak v. A.R. Antuley, AIR 1984 SC 684

[60] Pharmaceutical Inquiry Committee Report, 154, p.146, cited at Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., pp.135-136

[61] K.D. Gaur (Ed.), Criminal Law and Criminology, Deep & Deep Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2003, p.285

[62] Ibid.

[63] Dr. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with Victimology, Allahabad: Central Law Publication, 2012, 15th ed., p.136

[64] Following list is not comprehensive.

[65] Harshad Mehta manipulated banks to siphon off money and invested the funds in the stock market, leading to a crash. The loss: Rs 5,000 crore.

[66] As food minister, Kalpnath Rai presided over the import of sugar at a price higher than that of the market, causing a loss of Rs 650 crore to the exchequer. He resigned following the allegations.

[67] C.S. Ramakrishnan, MD, National Fertiliser, and a group of businessmen close to the P.V. Narasimha Rao regime fleeced the government and took Rs 133 crore from the import of two lakh tonne of urea, which was never delivered.

[68] The accountant general’s concerns about the withdrawal of excess funds by Bihar’s animal husbandry department unveiled a Rs 950-crore scam involving Lalu Prasad Yadav, then the state chief minister. He resigned a year later.

[69] Former minister of state for communication Sukh Ram was accused of causing a loss of Rs 1.6 crore to the exchequer by favouring a Hyderabad- based private firm in the purchase of telecom equipment. He, along with two others, was convicted in 2002.

[70] It was as innovative a swindle as any effected in the world. Savvy entrepreneurs convinced gullible investors that given the right irrigation and fertilizer inputs, teak, strawberries, and anything else that could be grown, would grow anywhere in the country. The promoters could afford to collect money from investors and not worry about retribution (or returns, for that matter). For, plantation companies fell under the purview of neither SEBI nor Reserve Bank of India . Indeed, they didn’t even come under the scope of the Department decided to change things in 1999, enough investors had been gulled: 653 companies, between them, had raised Rs. 2,563 crore from investors. To date, not many investors have got their principals back, just another affirmation of the old saying about money not growing on trees.

[71] SC refuses to quash PIL against Mayawati in Taj corridor scam.

[72] Orissa mine scam could be worth more than Rs 14k cr

[73] List of scams in India, available at http://www.theindependentindia.com/p/list-of-scams-in-india.html

[74] Arun Jaitely had accused Mr. Singh of giving extension to the promoters of Venture Energy and Technology Private Limited for completing a hydel power project, despite the State government’s decision to terminate the contract on grounds of default in execution. The BJP leader alleged that Vakamulla Chandrashekhar, promoter of the company, gave an unsecured loan of Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs. 2.40 crore to Ms. Pratibha Singh and Mr. Singh respectively. See, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-examining-jaitleys-letter-against-virbhadra-singh/article5523230.ece

[75] (1978) 3 SCC 544

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