The CBI formed a special investigation team (SIT) on Monday — the last day of polling in the 2014 elections — to probe the Saradha group and 17 other such companies for duping millions in Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and the northeastern states.
To be led by the agency’s joint director for the northeast zone, Rajiv Singh, the team will have officers from various CBI departments in the states, besides men from the agency’s Delhi office and specialised units.
On April 10, 2013 after his company went bust, Saradha group boss Sudipta Sen wrote a letter to the CBI, detailing the involvement of some Trinamool Congress top guns as well as relatives of some Congress leaders in the scam.
As the scam rocked Bengal and the neighbouring states, TMC chief and chief minister Mamata Banerjee set up a commission under a retired judge, Shyamal Sen, to initiate the process of documenting the investors and returning some money to the victims.
Already more than 60 persons – agents and depositors – have committed suicide since April last year.
A source in the CBI, which received the top court’s order on Friday to take up the probe, told HT that since the `20,000-crore scam involved fraud, money laundering and even hawala transactions, officers from specialised departments had to be roped in.
The SIT will soon start collecting documents from the special investigation team of the Bengal police as well as the Enforcement Directorate, which are now probing the scam. It will also seek documents from the Serious Fraud Investigation Office.
The Bengal police SIT arrested several persons, including Saradha group boss Sen, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh and others. ED, too, in its probe interrogated and arrested a number of persons, including Sen’s wife and daughter.
Since cases have already been registered by the police on the basis of first information reports, the CBI will re-register the cases before initiating the probe. But the agency will decide on the sections to be applied, changes in the list of accused persons and incorporate any other changes that it feels necessary.