The Saradha scandal may involve a far bigger amount than previously thought as bulk of the documents had not been made available to it by the Bengal police, the central agency investigating the fraud has said.
In its report, the serious fraud investigation office (SFIO) says gullible, small investors may have been cheated of more than Rs 2,459 crore - a figure arrived by it - as it could access records of only four of the 14 fund-raising companies of the Kolkata-based group that went bust in 2013.
"Due to non-availability of documents, employees and directors, detailed investigation could be made only in respect of the four fund- raising companies," the report, accessed by HT, says.
An investigating arm of the ministry of corporate affairs, the SFIO says it didn't have access to many important documents due to the non-cooperative attitude of the state police.
"Despite the best efforts, the West Bengal Police provided very few documents only, which were either already in public domain or had little relevance for leading the investigations," says the report.
While a former top police officer of the state is behind bars in the scandal that has singed the ruling Trinamool Congress, the SFIO has recommended that the CBI inquire and initiate "necessary action" against a serving police commissioner.
The state police were investigating the case before the Centre ordered a multi-agency probe into the activities of the Saradha group. Its promoters were accused by investors of creating a web of companies across several states in eastern India to dupe small depositors.