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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Bengal scam

ED identifying Saradha 'wealth' for attachment
Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 27, 2013
First Published: 22:53 IST(27/5/2013)
Last Updated: 00:46 IST(28/5/2013)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has already started the process of identifying properties of the tainted Saradha group for attachment, sources told HT.

The move follows after the ED has filed two cases against the Sudipta Sen-led Saradha group.

ED is a designated agency that has been notified under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). PMLA defines money-laundering offences and provides for the freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

Saradha went bust this April after its flagship company Saradha Realty allegedly collected crores of rupees from over 10 lakh small investors in West Bengal, Assam and Orissa and did not return the maturity value to the investors nor paid salaries to its employees and instead closed down the offices.

The scam itself runs into thousands of crores.

Besides money laundering charges, ED is also looking into allegations that the group may have violated foreign exchange laws.

Reports say a substantial chunk of money had found its way to Dubai through hawala with the money being suspected to have been ploughed into the real estate sector in the Gulf. There also has been speculation that Saradha Realty may have been a front for powerful and influential people to launder money and make investments in foreign countries.

The ED has also called for the business and personal transactions of Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen and his close associates and the business dealings of the groups' various investment schemes.

The ED and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) have already complained about the non-cooperative attitude of the West Bengal government which has allegedly been stonewalling the investigations.

Besides the state police and the ED, a slew of agencies like the income tax department and the Directorate of Revenue Investigation are also probing the case.


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