Assam may order CBI probe into chit fund mess

Guwahati, April 24 (IANS) Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Wednesday said he may recommend a CBI probe against chit fund companies for duping people, even as his government ordered a crackdown on such firms, including West Bengal based Saradha Group.

“Cases are being examined and the government is contemplating to hand over some cases to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), having inter-state ramifications,” Gogoi told reporters.

The chief minister also said that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been supervising the cases.

People in Assam Tuesday came out to the streets against the chit fund company Saradha Group for duping thousands of people, forcing the administration to seal several offices of the company in different locations like Guwahati, Mangaldai and in Dhubri.

The irate mob including investors and agents destroyed some of the properties of the company in different offices.

Gogoi’s announcement also came at a time when Assam’s Right to Information (RTI) activist and an associate of Anna Hazare, Akhil Gogoi alleged that Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has helped “legalising the illegal business” of the Saradha Group in Assam.

The activist also presented before the journalists a letter, which he claimed, was written by Pride East Entertainment Private Limited (PEEPL) to Sudipta Sen of Saradha Group for Rs.10 lakh donation for a painting programme. The minister’s wife is one of the directors in the PEEPL.

The letter was allegedly written to Sen Sept 19, 2011 seeking a donation of Rs.10 lakh to organise the painting and drawing competition in memory of those killed in the October 30, 2008 serial bombings in Assam.

The PEEPL runs three TV channels. The activist also produced a “voucher” claiming Saradha’s payment of Rs.10 lakh to PEEPL.

“Now that the people have been looted by the company, the minister must take full responsibility of the situation and resign,” said Akhil Gogoi.

Meanwhile, Assam has said that a total of 222 cases have been registered so far against 128 companies including Saradha Group, Rose Valley, Unipay 2U, Jeevan Suraksha, Prayag, Abyss Assam Group Co., Basil International Ltd., Alliance Vision Marketing Pvt. Ltd. and Daffodils Group of Companies.

Besides 17 cases, charge sheets have been filed against 42 people belonging to 15 companies while altogether 303 people have been arrested for swindling public money, an official said.

The government had also seized nearly Rs.94 lakh in cash from the arrested people and 106 bank accounts with total deposit of Rs.24 crore have been frozen.

Plots totalling more than 99 bighas, besides buildings, have been identified and necessary steps are being taken for their attachment.

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