A petition moved in the Calcutta High Court today has alleged that state transport minister Madan Mitra, along with several other Trinamool Congress MPs and an MLA, were associated with a private firm accused of duping investors of their money.
The petitioners, one Dhana Kanta Das and eight others (all residents of Coochbehar), alleged they had invested in the Angel Agritech Group of Companies in 2010 but the group did not return the money, which it had collected illegally by launching a collective investment scheme without taking permission from the SEBI, a legal requirement. Along with the petition, the complainants annexed a brochure of the company naming Mitra, Trinamool MPS (and actors) Tapash Pal and Satabdi Roy, TMC MLA Abu Naser Khan Chaudhury, and former Bengal cricketer Sambaran Banerjee as members of the advisory committee of the company.
The petition alleges that the company used names of these prominent personalities to instill confidence among the common people to achieve investment.
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The brochure claims the group, Angel Agritech, with one Sk Hashibul Haque as the Chairman and Managing Director, floated a total of 12 companies in various fields (education, food product, housing, entertainment, solar power, among others). It was registered with the Registrar of Company, Kolkata, in the middle of 2010, the brochure reads.
The group, claims the petition, was scheduled to return money to the depositors after the maturity in January this year but the companies’ offices were closed down over two months ago with no means of contacting the company officials.
Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, counsel for the petitioners, today pleaded that the case be handed over to the Enforcement Directorate for investigation under the money laundering act. The counsel also pleaded for the court’s directive to the ED to seize the group’s assets and property to pay off the depositors.
Incidentally, the petitioners had lodged a complaint with the Kotwali police station against the group in October last year but the police, reportedly, did not take any action. Justice Dipankar Dutta today has set Wednesday as the next hearing date.