Kolkata: The West Bengal government has cracked down on the Saradha group in the chit fund scam. The Mamata Banerjee government has frozen about 35 bank accounts belonging to the Saradha group, while 36 cars belonging to Saradha Chairman Sudipta Sen and his company have been seized.
Four office buildings in and around Kolkata belonging to the Saradha group have also been seized along with hundreds of land documents. The Bengal government appointed judicial commission will start receiving complaints of investors from Monday. The West Bengal Police has also got a four-day transit remand of Sudipta Sen.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress is on the defensive after Sudipta Sen claimed he was blackmailed by the party's leaders. But TMC MP Srinjoy Bose denied the allegations and said his company's tie-up with the Saradha group was a completely professional one.
"Our group had a professional tie-up with Saradha group's TV channel. It was a purely professional relation," Srinjoy Bose told IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai. "It's ridiculous to drag every one into the controversy just because we had some association. Today all Bengali channels are running on chit fund money," said Bose, is also the owner of Bengali daily Pratidin.
He added that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has not asked for any explanation from him. "Mamata has not asked for any explanation from me, I have shown the agreement to her," Bose said. He added that he was not an MP when the tie-up happened. "Mamata was not in power when we had a tie-up with Saradha's channel. I was not an MP in 2001 when this tie-up happened," Bose said.
This came after national daily The Indian Express reported that the Saradha Group CMD has sent an 18-page letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The letter contains the names of several key politicians, officials and legal experts who allegedly milked the company for money. Srinjoy Bose is one of the TMC MPs allegedly named in the letter.
The letter could reveal a nexus between politicians and the chit fund industry. The report states the letter is believed to have described links with at least two Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha members and a minister in Assam.
In it, Sen reportedly says he was blackmailed by these ministers for money. Sen also says his own employees cheated him.
Mamata had promised action if any of its leaders are involved in the scam. "Mamata Banerjee has said that anybody found culpable will be acted against," Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said.
The Chairman of the group, Sudipta Sen, was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir along with two others, following which market regulator Sebi asked Sen to return all the money to investors in three months. A fugitive for 13 days, Sen and two directors of his company were finally caught at a hotel at Sonmarg in Kashmir but not before putting an army of policemen on his trail. The Sebi order said that Saradha Realty and its chief were barred from the securities market till all the money was refunded to the investors.