Facing Saradha probe, TMC’s Satabdi Roy sends ED draft of Rs 30.64 lakh. Not enough, says BJP
Trinamool Congress leader Satabdi Roy, who is facing a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Saradha ponzi scam, has returned the money she got from the tainted group as its brand ambassador.
The 49-year-old Satabdi Roy had written to ED in July offering to return the money.
“I have sent a draft of Rs 30.64 lakh to the ED,” the three-time Lok Sabha member from Birbhum said on Wednesday.
An official of the ED confirmed that the draft has reached them, but refused further comment.
Roy, also a popular Bengali film actor, has become the second leader from the ruling TMC to return the money earned from Saradha. In mid-June 2015, former TMC Rajya Sabha MP and Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty returned Rs 1.16 crore he had received from the same group to ED.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Bengal unit vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar said it wasn’t enough.
“She got the money around 2011-13. She returned it now. But in the interim lakhs lost billions and many were driven to suicide. Who will give the victims back their lives? Merely returning the money is not enough. She must be ready to face whatever punishment the law will give her,” Majumdar said.
The Saradha ponzi scheme is the most high-profile ponzi scam in the state, for which a serving minister Madan Mitra and a Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh were imprisoned for more than two years. Several MPs, MLAs of West Bengal’s ruling party have already been interrogated by both CBI and ED for their alleged involvement in the scam that involved an estimated Rs 2,460 crore.
The Saradha scam shock waves went far beyond West Bengal when in April 2013, the group’s chairperson Sudipta Sen and its executive director Debjani Mukherjee were arrested from Jammu and Kashmir after a chase for a few days across north India.
The group operated through a network of more than 100 companies and several thousand agents arranged in a pyramidal structure. The agents were encouraged by commissions that ranged from 25-40%.
The group companies offered collective incentive schemes and investors never knew about where their money was invested. They were simply promised high returns on their money after a fixed period.
About 1.7-1.8 million depositors – mostly from the poor and lower-middle-class – lost their money. The victims were from West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
The Supreme Court asked CBI in May 2014 to investigate Saradha and other ponzi scams.