Bengal sets up commission, SIT to probe chit fund mess

Kolkata, April 22 (IANS) West Bengal Monday set up a high-powered commission headed by a former Calcutta High Court judge and a special investigation team to unravel the chit fund mess in wake of the Saradha Group going bust, affecting lakhs of depositors and agents.

“The commission will be headed by retired Justice Shaymal Sen. It will look into how much money has been laundered, who all were the depositors, how much money is involved, and how can we return the money,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told mediapersons after a high-level meeting at the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings.

Being set up under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the panel will have four other members, one of them a retired Indian Police Service officer. The other members would be from the corporate world, public life, besides an economist.

The commission can take the help of the criminal investigation department (CID) of the state police, besides other agencies.

The chief minister also announced the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) led by the director general of state police to look into the scandal.

Banerjee said her government was ready with a new “strong law” to bring to justice “those duping the people”.

“As assembly is not in session now, we would promulgate an ordinance,” the chief minister said.

She said her government had written to the centre three months back to return an old legislation sent by the erstwhile Left Front government for presidential assent on the issue.

“The old law is faulty. Then president Pratibha Patil had written to the Left Front (LF) government in 2006 to withdraw the legislation and send a fresh one with some changes. But the LF government did not withdraw it though they sent a new law,” she said.

“Unless the old legislation is returned, we cannot enact a fresh law. We are ready with the draft. We request the central government to return it first, if possible within 24 hours so that we can tackle the situation,” the chief minister said.

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