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May 29, 2013 at 11:41am IST

Chit fund schemes bloom in Jharkhand, firms swindle Rs 100 cr a month

Bokaro: More than a month after the Sharada chit fund scam was exposed in West Bengal, CNN-IBN has found chit fund schemes mushrooming in Jharkand as well. Fraudulent companies are swindling Rs 100 crore per month in the state.

It is hard to believe that a deserted office in the industrial town of Bokaro in Jharkhand has a monthly collection of over Rs 20 lakh. Jharkhand is the new haven for chit fund companies operating in India.

For chit fund companies, cities like these are a great haven as they have an army of employees who draw decent salaries. The presence of coal and iron ore-based heavy industry adds to the salaried population and there is an absence of education amongst the tribal people.

Though the government has no official data, according to a rough estimate, more than 150 chit fund companies are operating in the state collecting more than Rs 100 crore every month. "Yes, I know some companies are operating at the district level. We also take action against them. But what is the present status, what is the latest update, I'm not aware about them," Bokaro IG ML Meena said.

Some of these chit fund companies do the vanishing act overnight. CD Sharma lost all his post retirement money he had set aside for his daughters wedding. On the verge of losing his entire life's saving, CD Sharma stands dejected and shattered. It's not only a story about CD Sharma, an individual. In the mineral rich, industrialised state of Jharkhand, which has predominant tribal population, there are lakhs of Sharmas, whose millions are at stake because of mushrooming chit fund companies. For these companies, cash rich tribals are easy prey.

Mostly poor, educated, unemployed youth get into the trap of becoming agents. A chit fund company agent, Awadesh Gupta, managed to deposit Rs 25 lakh into a chit fund company. When the company vanished overnight, he had to flee the town of Dhanbad after he was beaten up by investors. These fraud schemes have been on for several years in the state and go unnoticed and unchallenged.