Saradha scam: Political blame game on, depositors seek refund (Roundup)

Kolkata, May 4 (IANS) While the political brinkmanship over the Saradha Group chit fund scam intensified, deposit seeking companies in West Bengal are feeling the heat with investors gunning for immediate refund of their money.

The Congress, which has been pressing for a CBI probe of the scam, accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of “shielding the guilty” and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the issue.

“Is it believable that Banerjee had no prior information about the scam? If she is really that ignorant, then she has no right to continue,” Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi said here.

“She (Banerjee) is shying away from a CBI probe because she knows that it will bring out the unholy nexus of the Trinamool with Saradha,” said state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya.

Ever since the Saradha scam broke out, Banerjee has maintained that she had no idea till April 15 about the flourishing chit fund business and the financial irregularities of Saradha.

Banerjee, who has taken upon herself to counter the opposition’s allegations against her party, put the blame on the erstwhile Left Front regime for the scam, and accused it of allowing the ponzi firms to “mushroom and flourish”.

She also accused the Left and the Congress of conspiring to malign her government.

The Congress-led UPA at the centre also came under fire from Banerjee, who claimed that the coalition would not return to power in the next election.

“There has been a UPA 1, a UPA 2, but there will never be a UPA 3,” Banerjee said Friday at a party rally in Panihati in North 24 Parganas distrcit.

In another development, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Saturday announced the expulsion of Ganesh Dey from the party. Dey was quizzed by police in connection with the chit fund scam, for “maintaining links with the tainted Saradha Group”.

Meanwhile, investors of chit fund companies continued statewide protests demanding the refund of their money.

Depositors Friday protested outside the city office of MPS Group demanding immediate refund of all the money they had invested.

Investors protested outside Shine India Infra Ltd in Burdwan district’s Durgapur, demanding refund of their investment. Police had to intervene to control the situation.

Amidst protests, an office of Euro Group, a deposit seeking company, was closed down by police in the Salt Lake area of Kolkata.

Since Thursday, at least five other offices of such firms were closed down in the city after police received complaints of cheating, fraud and criminal intimidation against them.

According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, 73 ponzi/multi-level marketing firms against whom complaints have been received, are operating in the State.

With the collective investment schemes of Saradha Group going bust, these companies are also under the scrutiny of the state government and the investors’ confidence in such firms has been shaken.

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