ED report throws up 20 names, some are TMC top guns

  • Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: May 11, 2014 00:28 IST

The Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating the Saradha Ponzi scam, has finalised its interim report, coming up with more than 20 names of beneficiaries — mostly members of the ruling Trinamool Congress or close the party leadership.

The list has at least five Rajya Sabha and two Lok Sabha members of the party, one high-profile state minister, one TMC candidate in the Lok Sabha elections, a couple of serving IPS officials and some former and present officials of the Registrar of Companies, some banks and market regulator SEBI, among others.

The directorate, the investigative arm of the Union finance ministry, has already issued summons to some of the beneficiaries.

ED officials told HT on condition of anonymity that the directorate had detected four Saradha group companies, which siphoned off about `2,500 crore. A part of this money was also sent abroad, but ED officials are yet to get a full picture of this part.

According to the ED officials, Saradha Tours & Travels was the main vehicle for siphoning off about `1,260 crore through the hawala route, while Saradha Realty was used to drain off around `770 crore, Garden Resorts for around `290 crore and Saradha Housing for around `115 crore.

“The amount is just a small portion of the entire scam amount as we believe. There are several other aspects of the scam, which are not parts of our probe,” said an ED official.

He said, “We have also got information about the group siphoning off around Rs 650 crore more. But we are yet to get definite clues about the channel or the medium through which the fund was routed.”

The report will come in handy for the CBI, as it prepares to begin probe into the group on the Supreme Court’s order. More than 60 people, including depositors and agents have committed suicide since April 2013 when the Saradha group went bust.

Before finalising the interim report and deciding on the next course of action, senior ED officials — including director Rajan Kotoch — will hold an emergency meeting, probably on May 14 in Bhubaneswar.

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