While the dust of the Saradha storm is yet to settle, a fresh bid to defraud gullible depositors is in the works in West Midnapore.
In a clear throwback to the chit fund menace, which drew scores to park their hard-earned deposits in sham schemes, a gang of fraudsters have been going around several villages of the district, making collections in the name of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development(NABARD),a government agency.
The authorities at NABARD had lately been drawn to the fraud, said sources.
Taking a serious note of the matter, the agency has since mobilised efforts to make the locals aware of the fraud and warn them against falling for lucrative schemes in the name of the agency.
The agency, said sources, had lately learned of some people impersonating as authorised signatories of NABARD and issuing receipts for fake fixed deposit schemes.
They were further drawn to complaints of these people making collections in lieu of sham schemes in the guise of loan officers.
Quizzed on the matter, a top NABARD official said, “We have already issued a clarification, saying that NABARD is not into making collections for fixed deposits and neither has it deputed field agents for the purpose. We would also like to disclaim any notions of having appointed loan officers to pool deposits or clearing loans.”
“From the time we learned of some fraudsters duping people in the name of NABARD, we have issued disclaimers and warned all locals against falling for such unauthorised financial transactions,” S. Padmanabhan, chief general manager of NABARD in Bengal, told HT.
Conceived by the Union government, NABARD was set up way back in 1982 with a mandate to facilitate credit flow for promotion and development of agriculture, cottage and village industries.
Top officials at NABARD said they have lately been drawn to multiple instances of some people raising money in the name of lucrative schemes.
“With the fraudsters using NABARD as cover for peddling their sham schemes, many fell for the promise of eye-popping returns on their deposits. While people are wary of investing in non-banking institutions since the Saradha affair, these people pulled off the charade by posing as agents of a government agency. We are in the process of picking out the culprits and ascertaining the amount already raised,” a top NABARD official said.