As is the case with economic offences across the country, the number of economic offences registered across the 19 metropolitan cities reduced in 2020. However, smaller cities like Jaipur, Lucknow & Patna continue to report a high crime rate of ‘Economic Offences’, almost three times the large cities.
In the earlier story, we analysed the trends related to ‘Economic Offences’ in India – crimes reported, police & court disposal of such cases. While fewer economic offences were reported in 2020, there was a significant fall in the number of cases disposed by the police and the courts.
In this story, we look at the trends of ‘Economic offences’ across the States and Metropolitan cities (as per NCRB) in the country.
Rajasthan reports the highest number of Economic offences, while Telangana has the highest crime rate
In 2020, Rajasthan reported 18.5 thousand economic offences, which is the highest in the country. The offences registered in 2020 were fewer than in the previous years, especially compared to 2019 where 26.92 thousand cases were registered. Despite the comparatively lower numbers in 2020, it is still the highest in the country. Uttar Pradesh records the second-highest number of economic offences followed by Maharashtra & Telangana.
The trends over the four years indicate these four states along with West Bengal account for the greatest number of economic offences registered by the police. Rajasthan is also among the states with a high crime rate of 23.6 per lakh population. The states of Telangana, Assam & Kerala have a higher crime rate than Rajasthan in 2020. Telangana has the highest Crime rate for economic offences in the country in 2020 with 34.6.
While the number of economic offences registered by the police fell in 2020 compared to that of 2019 in most of the states, Kerala, Telangana & Haryana are exceptions. The increase was more prominent in Kerala. Since NCRB only reports about the crimes registered by the police, it is unsure whether the fall in the number of economic offences is due to the lower incidence of the crime or due to underreporting.
Around a quarter of offences relating to Criminal Breach of trust are from UP and WB accounts for 1/6th of the counterfeiting cases
A criminal breach of trust is a crime head under ‘Economic Offences’ and the second most number of cases are registered under this head. In 2020, about 17.35 thousand cases were registered across India under this head. Of these, around 4.45 thousand cases are registered in Uttar Pradesh. Assam, which has a relatively much lower population than UP registered 2.28 thousand cases in 2020 under this head. UP also registered the highest number of cases resulting in loss of property due to Criminal breach of trust (2.6 thousand cases of the total 9.9 thousand cases).
This is higher than the cases registered under this head for states with a comparatively higher population like Maharashtra & West Bengal, which have registered around 1.6 and 1.5 thousand cases respectively under this head in 2020. Haryana is another state with a comparatively lower population but registered a higher number of cases under Criminal breach of trust with 1.47 thousand cases in 2020.
A similar trend is reflected even in 2019, where a higher number of cases under this crime head are reported in these states. However, the number of cases in 2020 has reduced especially in Uttar Pradesh.
A total of 672 cases were registered under another crime head of ‘Counterfeiting’ in 2020. Of these, the most are registered in West Bengal with 109 cases, followed by Assam at 63.
5 states account for nearly 55% of the cases under Forgery, Cheating & Fraud
More than 80% of the cases categorized as economic offences are registered under the Crime head of ‘Forgery, Cheating & Fraud’ (FCF). The trend across states as far as economic offences are concerned is largely a reflection of the trends under FCF.
Rajasthan has the highest number of registered cases of FCF in 2020 with around 18 thousand cases, although the number fell sharply from 26.34 thousand cases in 2019. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra continue to be among the states with a high number of cases registered under FCF despite fewer cases in 2020 compared to 2019.
Telangana reported an increase in the number of cases in 2020, in contrast to the general trend. Kerala and Assam are the other two states which have also reported an increase in the number of cases in 2020 compared to 2019. While Telangana witnessed a 15% increase in the number of cases registered under this head, Kerala witnessed a 41% increase in the number of FCF cases in 2020.
As per NCRB’s data, Maharashtra has registered the highest number of cases which has resulted in misappropriation due to FCF with 7.9 thousand cases, followed by Telangana at 7.6 thousand cases.
In the earlier story, we highlighted that during 2019, there were 316 cases of misappropriation due to FCF with an amount involved in each case between Rs. 50-100 crores each. This is an exception compared to the numbers in the other years. Andhra Pradesh contributed to this spike with 302 cases. While this instance of a higher number of cases in 2019 is reported by various media, the specific reasons are not clear yet.
Jaipur and Lucknow with the highest crime rate for economic offences
Among the 19 cities considered as Metropolitan cities in NCRB’s Crime in India report, Delhi and Mumbai have registered the highest number of Economic offences in 2020. Around 4.44 thousand such offences were registered in Delhi, while Mumbai registered 3.92 thousand cases. It ought to be noted that these two cities also account for the most population of all metro cities.
Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad are next on the list in terms of population. The trend in economic offences, however, varies between these cities. Bengaluru registered 2.08 thousand cases with a crime rate of 24.5 per lakh population. The crime rate of Kolkata and Chennai are much lower with only 12.9 and 8 per lakh population in 2020.
In contrast, Hyderabad has a higher crime rate of 44.2 in 2020. This is specific to 2020, as the crime rate in 2019 is much lower at 24.5. In fact, Hyderabad is the only major city that has registered an increase in the number of economic offences in 2020 compared to the earlier year. This could have contributed to the increase in cases observed in the case of Telangana.
Except for 2020, where the number of economic offences came down, Jaipur & Lucknow have registered the highest number of offences after Delhi & Mumbai. In fact, in 2019, Jaipur registered the most. The number of crimes registered in these two cities is higher than most of the other cities with a higher population. This is reflected in their higher crime rates.
In 2019, Jaipur’s crime rate for economic offences was 198.7 per lakh population which fell to 104.7 in 2020. For Lucknow, it was 103.8 and 76.7 per lakh population in 2019 & 2020 respectively. Despite the lower numbers in 2020, these two cities continue to register the highest crime rate in the country as far as economic offences are concerned. Patna follows these two cities regarding the crime rate.
Trends indicate that ‘Economic Offences’ are more common in certain States & Cities
Although the number of Economic offences has decreased in 2020 and there are certain changes in the trends, the trend in most of the previous years has been consistent. Certain cities and states tend to register a very high number of Economic offences. The trends are consistent even within the various crime heads under economic offences.
Such clear trends provide an opportunity to focus on these cities & states to identify the circumstances & reasons for economic offences to take place. An emerging trend in recent years is that economic offences are not limited to large cities but have also spread to comparatively smaller cities and the crime rate in fact is higher in such cities.
The higher number of economic offences is understandable in the cities of Mumbai, which is considered the financial capital while Delhi is the national capital. The cities of Bengaluru & Hyderabad are major IT hubs with a lot of economic activity. The emergence of cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, Pune etc. in terms of the higher crime rate of economic offences is a cause for concern. While the specific nature of such offences is not available, the crime rate in these cities is almost 3 times more than the average crime rate across 19 large cities and almost 7 times more than the national average.
Chennai which is among the cities with one of the lowest crime rates for economic offences, also has a higher Chargesheeting rate with 90.3%, while in the case of Jaipur it is only 12.9%.
Based on the nature of the economic offence, specific domain knowledge, coordination with other financial agencies are necessary for faster disposal. All this makes it challenging for law enforcement agencies. Though dedicated ‘Economic Offences Wings’ are set up in most states, the increasing crime rate & decreasing disposal rates call for urgent action.
Featured Image: Crime Rate of ‘Economic Offences’