The Enforcement Directorate has successfully traced the origin and the destination of Rs 500 crore in the ponzi scheme carried out by the now-bust Saradha Group which affected over a million depositors.
According to the agency officials, the money was laundered through various channels, prominent among which were foreign investments, ‘landed property’ deals and media investments. In some cases, officials note, the money was even laundered to several political parties.
“We have at present 12 lakh documents that need to be analysed manually. (And) in each account, there are lakhs of entries recorded,” said a source privy to the information, adding that from the documents that have already been verified, the agency has “traced Rs 500 crore and identified the destinations and the origins of the money”.
The directorate is slated to file its charge-sheet in the Saradha case in a couple of months, and has therefore begun to concentrate on other chit fund companies operating in Bengal as well as some northeastern states.
In its first such attempt at looking into the affairs of companies outside the Saradha Group, the ED has lodged a case against Rose Valley group of companies, whose chairman, Gautam Kindu, is likely to be summoned for interrogation in a week’s time.
In another development, the directorate also lodged a case under Money Laundering Prevention Act against former district magistrate of Malda, Godala Kiran Kumar (also a senior IAS officer). Kumar, is the key accused in the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) scam, involving embezzlement of funds to the tune of at least Rs 200 crore.
“We have requested the state government to ensure Kumar’s presence at the ED office in the first week of June,” the official said. Kumar was arrested on charges of corruption and removed from the post and has since been designated as “an officer on compulsory waiting”. He is currently out on bail.
Meanwhile, a team of ED officers today raided the Saradha group’s Behala office, located on the Diamond Harbour road. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation had issued licenses to 43 companies owned by the Saradha group from this single premise.