BESIDES Saradha Realty and its 13 subsidiaries,the newly-created Special Task Force (STF) in the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has been told to probe three more West Bengal firms Sunshine India Land Developers,Icore E-services and Rose Valley Real Estate & Construction and their subsidiaries.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs on Thursday instructed the SFIO that after considering the report of the Registrar of Companies (West Bengal),it was satisfied that the state of affairs of the four companies which have raised huge sums of money from the public at large need to be investigated.
The ministrys press statement on Thursday announced the STF but did not name the companies it would investigate. It has been decided to set up an STF in the SFIO to investigate the affairs of such companies, the statement said.
However,the MCA communiqué to SFIO is explicitly clear. It names Sunshine and its eight subsidiaries,Icore and its 10 subsidiaries,Saradha and its 13 group companies and Rose Valley and its 18 subsidiaries for investigation by the STF.
It said the MCA decision was taken in view of a larger public interest involved and concerns regarding misuse by such companies of the ill-gotten wealth and the possibility that the promoters of these companies may strip these companies.
The probe follows raging public protest against alleged duping of lakhs of investors by Saradha group through their chit-fund and other money-pooling activities in West Bengal.
Since the Saradha Group went aground,wiping out at least Rs 1,200 crore of peoples savings,depositors and collection agents have been thronging the offices of other firms,including Rose Valley and Icore E-Services.
Last month,Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot told Parliament that his ministry received complaints of alleged swindling by 73 companies of about a dozen different groups in West Bengal.
Chit-fund companies have mushroomed since 2005-06 and have mopped up more than Rs 17,000 crore. These firms had adopted some innovative techniques to raise money to bypass RBI and Sebi,like raising money through private placement of debentures and taking deposits against land.