There is a new twist in the ongoing multi- agency investigation in the Rose Valley chit fund scam. Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has stumbled upon documents that show that two Trinamool Congress MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul attempted to bail out the group after the Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) cancelled its corporate agency licence with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in March 2012.
“The bail out attempt, however, failed since the IRDA officers, whom these MPs tried to influence blatantly declined to entertain their plea,” said an SFIO officer associated with the probe.
By an order on March 19, 2012, the insurance watchdog cancelled LIC’s corporate agent licence held by Rose Valley Chain group was pushing multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes using LIC’s corporate agent licence as a garb.
According to sources, this information has been shared with the CBI to help the agency proceed with the investigation that has grabbed headlines over the past few days, and has taken the relation between Trinamool Congress and BJP to a new low.
“This decision of IRDA came as a serious blow to Rose Valley since the corporate agent licence was the main tool for the ponzi entity to push its products to garner deposits. At that point, Rose Valley founder and managing director Gautam Kundu contacted these MPs, who made a desperate attempt to influence IRDA officials so that the licence cancelling order was revoked. However, their attempts failed,” he added.
IRDA also noted in its order that Rose Valley was pushing these MLM schemes through persons who do not posses any certificate issued by IRDA under the Licensing of Corporate Agents Regulations Act, 2002.
According to the estimates of SFIO and Enforcement Directorate (ED), Rose Valley collected about `17,000 crore illegally from the market. And a lot of it was in cash.
“We don’t think it’s necessary to respond to each and every allegation,” said Trinamool secretary general and education minister Partha Chatterjee.