Kolkata: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Asim Dasgupta on Sunday urged the central government to step in and launch a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the collapse of chit fund-funded company Saradha Group.
Dasgupta, a noted economist who held the finance portfolio for 24 years during the Left Front rule, also rejected allegations that chit fund companies had flourished during the LF regime.
"My question is after the new (Trinamool Congress) government has come to power, what are the steps they have taken with respect to the enquiries which we have started? Why have they not taken any action against chit funds? They should have initiated firm action," he said.
Dasgupta wondered by the Trinamool government took so long to issue arrest warrant against the promoter of the Saradha Group Sudipta Sen.
"I think there is need for the central government to step in and, if the need be, ask CBI to launch a comprehensive probe alongside the Securities and Exchange Board of India and other such agencies," he told media persons here.
The veteran leader listed several firm steps taken by the LF government including arrest of big players involved in the chit fund business who were "duping the people", whenever it received complaints about irregularities by such concerns.
He said the LF regime in 2010 passed a bill in the assembly which contained provisions for strong steps against irregularities by chit fund companies.
"The bill was very powerful. It had provisions for life sentence to the offenders. But so far it has not received presidential assent.
"What steps have the Trinamool government taken with respect to the bill? Why has this government not taken any action within this time to get it approved?" he asked, countering allegations that the LF had done nothing to halt mushrooming of chit funds.
He also accused the Trinamool of "efforts to mislead the people" by putting the blame on the LF regime.
"This allegation is absolutely baseless. Either they don't know anything or they are trying to mislead the people. .The approval is given first of all by registrar of companies under the union ministry of corporate affairs. That is the first approval given.
"Secondly for those financial institutions who are basically taking money and supposed to pay back the money with interest and under RBI (Reserve Bank of India) guidelines, they are then required to take permission of RBI. In some other cases, the permission is given by SEBI."
Dasgupta said around 100 chit fund companies now operated in the state, of which 15 were big firms. "During the last few years, these firms have collected a whopping Rs.30,000 crores".