Tripura may order CBI probe into chit fund scam

Agartala, April 30 (IANS) Tripura’s Left Front government may recommend a CBI probe into the illegal activities of the non-banking financial companies in the state following a chit fund scam in West Bengal, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said here Tuesday.

“We have no objection to hand over the inquiry into the illegal activities of the NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) in Tripura to the CBI ,” Sarkar said.

“We are now studying the legal aspects of the matter before handing over the case to the CBI,” Sarkar told the assembly after the opposition Congress members demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation on the issue.

Sarkar, who also holds the home portfolio, said: “At any cost the state government was determined to stop the illegal operation of the chit funds in the state.”

He said the Left Front government in Tripura has taken several measures, including enactment of a law, to deal with such companies and to protect investors.

Referring to the Bengal chit fund scam, Tripura earlier demanded a common law in India to deal with illegal finance companies which dupe people after accepting deposits on the promise of high returns.

“Giving power to the state governments, there must be a common act for the entire country to curb the illegal activities of the NBFCs,” Sarkar earlier told reporters.

Demanding a probe by the central agency, opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath told the house the Assam government has already handed over to the CBI the probe into the illegitimate activities of the chit funds.

Sarkar in a written reply to a question by the opposition leader said that since 2010-11, 27 NBFCs and UIBs (un-incorporated bodies) have shut down their offices in Tripura after collecting Rs.23.16 crore from the people of the state.

Tripura Police Saturday arrested the director of ‘Self Trust’, Dipak Saha, after hundreds of agitated people across the state gathered in front of the company’s office at Ranir Bazar, near here.

According to the preliminary probe of the police, the company had collected at least Rs.3 crore from people in Tripura. Of the nine-member board of directors of the chit fund, four are from West Bengal. There are five directors resident in Tripura.

Meanwhile, ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist has asked its partymen to disassociate themselves from the chit funds and to take strong steps against the NBFCs and the UIBs, popularly known as chit fund companies.

“We have already directed our party members not to associate with the chit funds and asked the people not to deposit their hard earned money in these illegal companies,” CPI-M state secretary Bijan Dhar told reporters Tuesday.

“As the central government has not been opening sufficient number of bank branches in the rural and remote areas and has been reducing the interest rate on small savings, such type of chit funds are mushrooming in most places,” said Dhar, also a CPI-M central committee member.

“The faulty policies of the central government have caused the rapid increase of chit fund companies in India,” Dhar said, urging party cadres and supporters to take strong views against these unauthorised organisations.

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