The CBI on Thursday carried out searches at 28 locations across the country, including the residence of former union minister Matang Sinh in Delhi, in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam in which deposits of thousands of investors were allegedly swindled by ponzi companies.
The searches were carried out in Delhi, Bengal, Assam and Orissa in connection with CBI FIRs against the Saradha group, CBI sources said. Those searched included “influential people” having alleged links with the Saradha group, sources said.
Kanchan Prasad, CIO, CBI said in Kolkata, “The locations where the searches were carried out included the residences and offices of former minister Matang Sinh, (his estranged wife) Manoranjana Sinh, former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar, East Bengal Club official Debabrata Sarkar and Sudipta Sen (CMD of Saradha group).” The searches were going on at Delhi’s Gol Market residence and office of Sinh.
In Kolkata, 22 locations were searched, which also included the residences of Sudipto Sen’s wife Piyali Sen, Arindam Das, Mitali Banerjee, Ashok Biswas, Shantanu Ghosh, Ramesh Gandhi, Naresh Bhalotia, Tarun Roy, Ajitesh Banerjee, Sudip Ghosh Dastidar, Poulumi Mukherjee and Kaushik Pahari. Searches were still on at the time of going to press.
There are four FIRs against Saradha group in which it is alleged that thousands of investors were duped by the company officials and their associates who swindled their deposits. Besides, there are 44 FIRs in Orissa against ponzi companies.
The Supreme court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam to CBI and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the CBI team probing the matter.
Former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar, who retired as Director General of Armed Police, West Bengal and then became a consultant of the Saradha group, however, denied that CBI officials conducted any ‘raid’ or ‘search operation’ in his residence. “The CBI officers came to my residence and asked me whether I have any incriminating documents related to Saradha scam in my residence. I told them I do not have any incriminating document relating to the scam. I also told them that I worked as a consultant in the Saradha group of companies for 11 months. And I have handed over all necessary documents and audit reports to the investigators,” said Majumdar.
Majumdar is believed to be close to the Trinamool Congress government in the state — he continues to function as a board “Director” of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited. A top official of the power utility said Majumdar was inducted in the board as a “government nominee”. The West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd, another wing of the state power department, also has Majumdar as a “director”.
This is the first time, a central investigating agency conducted search operations at Majumdar’s residence. Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate had summoned Majumdar to its office and interrogated him.
East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar was summoned to the CBI office twice and he was questioned for several hours in the CBI offices. On Thursday, the CBI searched his residence for more than six hours. Sarkar said the CBI team asked for some documents and he had handed them over. — (With inputs from PTI)