Saradha Chit Fund Scam: Two BJP Leaders Involved; Mamata Banerjee Allegedly Met Group Head Several Times – All You Need To Know
The Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 companies, cheated millions of investors and mopped up thousands of crores by running Ponzi schemes.
The Saradha chit fund scam came to light in April 2013 after it failed to repay depositors. The Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 companies, cheated millions of investors. It mopped up an estimated Rs 30,000 crore from over 1.7 million depositors before it collapsed in April 2013.
How did the company operate?
The basic model was to offer a wide variety of collective investment schemes to customers. The group appointed agents to collect money for the Ponzi schemes from the public by issuing secured debentures and redeemable preferential bonds on a commission basis.
In Ponzi schemes, customers or investors are paid returns from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than the profit earned by an individual or an organisation running the operation. These are fraudulent investment operations.
The chairman’s arrest
Saradha Group Chairman and MD Sudipta Sen and his colleagues Debjani Mukherjee and Arvind Singh Chauhan were arrested on April 23, 2013, from Kashmir. On the same day, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) barred Saradha Realty from the securities market.
The fate of agents and investors
After the scam was unearthed, lakhs of agents had to face angry depositors who wanted their money back. However, some of the agents even put their own money because Trinamool Congress leaders were seen as supporting it, reports said.
An agent allegedly attempted suicide after the group’s collapse. Reports also suggested that a 50-year-old woman who had deposited Rs 30,000 with the company set herself on fire.
Involvement of political leaders
In a letter allegedly written by Sudipta Sen to CBI in April 2013, the names of former TMC leaders Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose surfaced.
1) Kunal Ghosh was arrested in Kolkata in November 2013 for his alleged involvement in the scam as the head of Saradha Media. “If anyone has derived the most benefit from Saradha Media, then it is the chief minister (Mamata Banerjee),” Ghosh told metropolitan magistrate Arvind Mishra when he was produced at the Bankshall Court in December 2014.
Ghosh, a Rajya Sabha MP, is out on bail. The Modi government nominated him as a member of the Telephone Advisory Committee in January 2017.
2) In November 2014, the CBI arrested former TMC leader Srinjoy Bose, the owner-editor of a Bengali daily.
The former Rajya Sabha MP faced charges of criminal conspiracy, misappropriation of funds and deriving improper financial benefits, said a CBI official who didn’t want to be named. He is out on bail at present.
3) CBI arrested TMC leader and former West Bengal Minister Madan Mitra for his alleged links with the multi-crore scam in December 2014. He lost his Kamarhati seat by 4198 votes to CPI-M leader Manash Mukherjee in the last Assembly elections.
4) In November 2014, Assam BJP leader and Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, was questioned by the investigative agency for eight hours in connection with the Saradha scam. Sarma was then a minister in the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in the state.
The CBI also raided his house and local news channel News Live’s office, owned by his wife in August 2014. According to reports, he is accused of receiving Rs 20 lakh per month from Sudipta Sen which he used to run his business in Assam.
In August 2015, Sarma joined BJP and played a pivotal role in improving the saffron party’s performance in the northeastern states. There was no news of any investigation against him by the CBI after he became a BJP member.
“I have enough evidence against the Assam deputy chief minister. I dare Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to have him arrested. The CBI has already questioned him before,” Mamata Banerjee said on February 4, Saturday, referring to Sarma, while addressing the crowd in Kolkata after the tiff with CBI.
5) The CBI questioned former Railway Minister and TMC’s All India General Secretary Mukul Roy in connection with the Saradha scam in January 2015. In November 2017 Roy joined BJP, and the investigative agency didn’t question him after he jumped into the saffron party’s fold. He is the convener of the BJP’s election management committee in West Bengal.
Roy alleged that Mamata Banerjee is involved in the scam by saying that she met Saradha Group head Sudipta Sen several times. “Meetings also took place at Pratidin office and the residence of painter Suvaprasannah,” he said in his first public rally as a BJP leader.