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Ponzi fire spreads to other firms

kolkata Updated: Apr 28, 2013 18:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Saradha scam

After Saradha, another financial scam has surfaced in Murshidabad. Hundreds of agents of a Murshidabad-based ponzi company, James Dream India Real Estate Ltd (JDIRL), on Saturday ransacked the house of the company’s managing director after the investors did not get their money back with interest. The managing director is absconding after the incident.

Sources said that one Mustak Ahmed, a resident of Murshidabad’s Ranitala, had set up the fraudulent fund in 2010. He had promised the investors that their money would be doubled in less than five years. Trusting Ahmed (the MD), around 1 lakh people of the district invested in his firm. But the investors stopped getting the monthly interest from mid last year.

After the sudden collapse of Saradha, a number of agents of JDIRL contacted Ahmed recently to get the investors’ money back. But he didn’t pay a single penny to any agent.

On Saturday, hundreds of angry JDIRL agents ransacked Ahmed’s house near Raninagar’s Pirtala. But it was reportedly empty when they vented their ire.

A JDIRL agent said on condition of anonymity, “There are over 2,000 agents in this company and they have collected over Rs 5 crore from 1 lakh-odd persons.”

He added that Ahmed had made six other members of his family directors of JDIRL.

“We have collected money from people promising them that their investment would double in less than five years. JDIRL gave interest to the investors and commission to the agents till August last year (2012). But after that the payments stopped.”

The agent added: “We had met Ahmed a number of times in February and requested him to refund the money. But instead of paying us, he lodged a false complaint against some agents with Ranitala PS. Following the intervention of Murshidabad SP, Humayun Kabir, he was arrested. But after getting bail, he started threatening us.”

Ahmed reportedly called one Saikul Islam and five other agents to his office recently and compelled them to sign a blank court paper at gunpoint, he said.

The agent continued, “After the sudden collapse of the Saradha chit fund, the investors of JDIRL are putting pressure on us to get back their money. Many have even threatened to kill us if this does not happen. Ahmed told us that the money has been used in several big projects. But now we have come to know that he has spent it on his personal use and the remaining is still in the account of his wife Zarina Bibi. If police take immediate steps, the money can be recovered.”

When contacted, Kabir said: “So far, 12-odd arrests have taken place in Murshidabad in connection with chit funds after the collapse of Saradha.”

SDPO Lalbagh Tanmay Sarkar did not know about the ransacking of Ahmed’s house. When informed by this correspondent, he hinted Ahmed may be nabbed soon for cheating people.