The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting raids today at multiple locations in connection with its ongoing probe into the Saradha Ponzi scam. The CBI is raiding six locations, the houses and office premises of three senior SEBI officials, in Mumbai.
The three SEBI officials have come under the scanner for their alleged role during their posting in the Kolkata office during 2009-2013, the sources said.
The Saradha scam, known as Saradha Group financial scandal, was a major financial scam that surfaced in 2013. Investigation into the multi-crore ponzi scheme has been on since then.
The Saradha scheme was launched in the early 2000s by businessman Sudipto Sen in collaboration with 200 private partners of his company. Aimed at small investors, the scheme became popular in a very short time as it promised high returns. The money was collected through a wide network of agents, who were paid commissions of over 25%.
The Saradha Group raised about Rs 2,500 crore in a few years. The scheme soon expanded to Odisha, Assam, and Tripura, and the number of investors reached close to 1.7 million.
Over a dozen All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) MLAs and MPs, including ministers, have been questioned by CBI in connection with the scam. Many of these leaders were directly involved in the group’s operations, the agency alleged.
The Saradha Group financial scandal was a major financial scam and alleged political scandal caused by the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 private companies that was believed to be running collective investment schemes popularly but incorrectly referred to as chit funds in Eastern India.
The group collected around Rs 200 to 300 billion from over 1.7 million depositors before it collapsed in April 2013. In the aftermath of the scandal, the state Government of West Bengal where the Saradha Group and most of its investors were based instituted an inquiry commission to investigate the collapse. The state government set up a fund of Rs 5 billion ($ 70 million) to ensure that low-income investors were not bankrupted.