The CBI named Sudipta Sen, Debjani Mukherjee and Kunal Ghosh in its first charge sheet in the Saradha chit fund scam probe on Wednesday. It, however, left the unravelling of the bigger mystery for a supplementary charge sheet that will follow soon.
The document, which named four companies of the Saradha group and a firm of Ghosh, slapped three IPC sections — 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) — against the accused. The accused were also charged under sections of the prize chit and money circulation schemes banning) Act, 1978. “Further probe under section 173(8) of the code of criminal procedure continues to establish the role of other accused persons and financial transactions,” said a CBI official.
Among the companies named are Saradha Tours and Travels, Saradha Gardens, Saradha Realty, Saradha Housing and Ghosh’s Strategy Media. Sen and Debjani were involved as directors in these companies.
Ghosh, a suspended TMC MP, who was the chief executive officer of Sen’s media business, was named for his involvement through his company.
On May 9, a division bench of justices TS Thakur and C Nagappan directed the CBI to launch a probe into the operations of the deposit-taking firms of West Bengal and Odisha including Saradha that sunk in April 2013.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her party tried their best to stop the CBI from taking over the case.
Incidentally, on Wednesday, the Shyamal Sen Commission set up by Mamata to identify the key persons responsible for the Saradha scam and return money to the depositors was wound up without achieving either of the objectives.
The commission returned money to about five lakh depositors against a total number of more than 12 lakh complaints filed with it.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled on October 28.