A chit fund agent employed by the Rose Valley Group hanged himself late Sunday night.
Prashanta Acharya (37), an agent, was found dead in a cowshed near his residence at Parihati in the Jamboni area of West Midnapore.
He had been married a couple of months, said sources.
Sources said Acharya had raised Rs. 2 crore from collections in lieu of lucrative schemes and had lately been facing pressure from depositors demanding money back.
They said some locals looked in at his place a couple of days back, claiming the schemes that they signed on for had matured.
They soon erupted in anger after the agent claimed they would have to wait a few more days for the promised returns.
He reportedly sneaked out of his room late Sunday night and was found hanging in a nearby cowshed the morning after.
Locals blamed the death on a family dispute.
“We have sent the body for a post-mortem examination and have begun a probe on what prompted him to take his own life. We would explore all angles over the course of our investigation,” an investigating officer said.
The Saradha meltdown and the subsequent arrest of chit fund scam kingpin Sudipta Sen, while on the run in Kashmir, set off a domino effect, with scores of duped depositors voicing their outrage across the state and many agents choosing death to escape retribution.
The Saradha bust further blew the lid off similar shady concerns operating across the state and many of these were asked to wind up operations and refrain from pitching sham deposit schemes to gullible depositors.
However, despite being warned of action, many of these sham firms continued to raise money in the name of windfall returns.
Rose Valley too had continued with the chit fund operations, despite being named in a list of firms on fraud watch by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
Sources said the Saradha meltdown led to a flood of applications by the Rose Valley clients, demanding money back.
Many sought a return of the net amount invested minus the promised returns.
Sources quoting neighbourhood locals said Acharya slipped into a state of depression in the light of his tiff with depositors and largely kept to himself.
In another incident, agents and depositors of Ramel Group, another chit fund concern, vented their outrage over the company’s failure to return the promised amount and ran riot at its office in the Chuapur area of Murshidabad.
A huge contingent of Behrampore police rushed to the scene to enforce order.
“Around 5,000 depositors had parked over Rs. 1 crore worth of deposits at the Chuapur branch. However, the company went back on its promise of windfall returns to customers even before the Saradha scam broke,” an agent of the company said.
“The top officials had promised to clear all promised returns, but not much happened on that front. The depositors stepped up pressure on us and even threatened our life,” an agent said.