CBI raids 22 locations of suspected chit fund scamsters in Bengal

CBI is carrying out searches at 22 locations in West Bengal, One of the accused companies in a ponzi scam case.

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New Delhi: The CBI is carrying out searches at 22 locations in West Bengal which are the premises of directors and promoters of New Land Agro Industries, one of the accused companies in a ponzi scam case, officials said Monday.

The company was booked in May 2017 on the orders of the Supreme Court, they said.

The apex court had directed the agency to probe all the companies allegedly involved in the ponzi scam being probed by a Special Investigation Team of West Bengal, the officials said.

It was alleged in the complaint that over 250 agents, who had deposited approximately Rs 1 crore each, were cheated by the promoters and directors of the agency by promising them lucrative return. But the maturity amounts were not paid to the gullible investors, it was alleged.

The alleged Saradha chit fund scam of West Bengal and a few adjoining States, as well as Tripura, is estimated to be worth Rs 2,460 crore. In the investigation report of the West Bengal Police and Enforcement Directorate (ED), it has been revealed that 80% of the depositor’s money is yet to be paid.

According to the investigation report, four companies of the Saradha group were used to make money through three schemes, which devastated mostly the poor, small investors. Saradha offered three schemes namely fixed deposit, recurring deposit and monthly income deposit, all of which were allegedly fraudulent.

Once the Saradha scam surfaced, Sudipta Sen and his companion Debjani Mukherjee were arrested from Jammu & Kashmir. Two days later, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced at a press conference convened at the Writers’ Building that a fund of Rs 500 crore — of which Rs 150 crore would come from a cess levied on tobacco products — would be instituted to compensate for the loss of investors of the ponzi scheme. The chief minister had also announced that day institution of the Shyamal Sen Committee to officiate over the process of reparation.

The Opposition in West Bengal had questioned right then as to why the State exchequer should pay for the corruption of a private firm and why no such provision had ever been made in the history of the State in response to acts of embezzlement by the management of any other private company.

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