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May 23, 2013 at 11:28am IST

Saradha chit fund scam: A month on, SIT's credibility being questioned

Kolkata: It has been a month since Sharada chit fund scam accused Sudipta Sen was arrested. The scam has driven at least eight people to suicide, lakhs of investors lost their life savings and hundreds of agents have fled their homes. An SIT to probe the case was announced and a Rs 500-crore package was announced. But one month on, questions are being raised about the pace of investigation and neutrality of the SIT.

"The SIT of the police is not competent to carry out this job. They are not used to this kind of work, they do not have the infrastructure and they have many other things to do," said Sandhi Mukherjee, former DG IB.

Petitioner Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said, "The SIT is being headed by the DG of police, and who is that gentleman? What is his integrity level? His entire effort being the head of the SIT would be to protect the political bigwigs."

Sudipta's U-turn over a CBI probe has also raised eyebrows. The man who wrote a letter to CBI before his arrest had later submitted in the court an affidavit in which he expressed confidence in the SIT probe and not CBI and denied links of TMC members and the government, especially West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Sudipta is facing multiple FIRs filed disgruntled employees and investors. But not a single complaint about the larger financial scam and those behind it has been filed. Even the state did not file a case on its own and continues to oppose a CBI probe.

"We are going by the FIR principally but that doesn't mean that we are limited by the FIR. As new fronts are opening we are investigating into those," said Arnab Ghosh, Additional DC, Detective Department, Bidhannagar Police.

Justice Shyamal Sen, the chairman of the commission probing the chit fund scam, "I don't think the CBI is the only one that can investigate and after the SC's comment, the CBI has lost its credibility to a great extent."

Controversies also surround Debjani Mukherjee and her medical treatment at a posh hospital in Bidhananagar with allegations of preferential treatment cornering the police. With three states - Assam, Odisha and Tripura - initiating a CBI probe, perhaps, it's just a matter of time before the CBI net widens to Sudipta in Bengal too.