Saradha scam: ED may grill Trinamool MP

  • Rajesh Ahuja and Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Kolkata
  • Updated: Sep 12, 2014 09:08 IST

Financial investigation agencies are probing whether a UAE-based financial firm linked to Trinamool Congress MP KD Singh was the destination of some of the funds raised from investors in the Saradha scam.

The ED and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) are understood to be looking at whether Saradha used the hawala route to siphon off funds collected from its depositors and park them at Al Masah Capital Ltd, an asset management firm where Singh was vice-chairman.

Sources in the Enforcement Directorate, which investigates foreign exchange violations and money laundering, said that Singh was likely to be examined soon.

“We are trying to tap all possible links of Saradha Group both nationally as well as overseas. During the course of our investigations on these lines, we tracked Saradha’s links in the UAE and there the name of Al Masah surfaced. We are going into details in the probe regarding Saradha’s tax-haven links,” said an SFIO official.

Singh’s office did not respond to repeated queries, but in an earlier conversation with HT, Singh had denied knowledge of any links between Saradha and Al Masah. He had said that he was offered the post of honorary vice-chairman of the UAE company for a year and had quit before entering the world of parliamentary politics.

The Saradha scam, caused by the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by the Saradha group, a consortium of over 200 companies running a wide variety of collective investment schemes in mainly in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha. The group collapsed in April 2013, causing an estimated loss of about Rs 10,000 crore to over 1.7 million depositors.

The Bengal government instituted an inquiry commission to probe the scam and set up a Rs 500-crore fund to ensure that low-income investors got back some part of their investments. The Centre also launched a multi-agency probe.

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