55 firms collecting money illegally evade action

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 12, 2014 23:27 IST

Reeling under the Rs 10,000-crore Saradha chit fund scam and allegations of its linkages to major politicians, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has reported that the West Bengal government has not initiated any action against 55 illegal private companies that are still collecting money from the public.

The secret note says that according to inputs received by the IB, about 55 companies are collecting money from the public in West Bengal “without registration either with the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) or the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and without filing any offer document with SEBI.”

“Inputs further state that the government authorities are aware of the companies but still has not initiated any action against them,” said the note accessed by HT.

About 45 of the 55 companies, that have been collecting money from the public illegally or not returning the collected money on maturity, have Kolkata addresses with some having addresses in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of West Bengal.

The West Bengal government did not respond to HT’s queries that were faxed and e-mailed.

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) had complained to the Centre about the non-cooperative attitude of the West Bengal government which had allegedly been stonewalling investigations.

The Saradha scam had rocked the state last year after revelations that the group allegedly lured about 10 lakh small-time investors mainly in West Bengal, Assam and Orissa promising astronomical returns. It did not return the maturity value to the investors and closed down its offices without paying salaries to its employees.

HT had reported earlier that for more than a year, various state governments, income tax sleuths, Intelligence Bureau and others sat on suspicious transaction tip-offs that were reported by banks to the finance ministry before the lid blew open.

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