MPS ponzi scheme raised 26 billion, says ED in chargesheet

Amount mopped up by MPS is bigger than that mobilised by the Saradha group.
Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen being brought to a court in 2014. Unlike Saradha, no political party leader has yet been named in the MPS case.(HT Photo)
Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen being brought to a court in 2014. Unlike Saradha, no political party leader has yet been named in the MPS case.(HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 19, 2018 12:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByHT Correspondent, Kolkata

The Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s first charge sheet against the M P S group’s ponzi scheme has placed the amount mobilized illegally by the group at 26 billion. The amount is greater than that raised by the high-profile Saradha group which was 24.6 billion.

The accused are Pramathanath Manna, chairman of the Kolkata-based MPS Greenery Developers limited Group, his wife, their two daughters and petrol pump owner, Bholanath Das.

Of the five persons accused, Manna is the only one in prison since his arrest in September 2014.

“The charge sheet was filed on Saturday. The accused were charged with IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said Abhijit Bhadra, the advocate for ED.

Summons have been sent to all the accused to appear before the judge on January 15.

“Das owns a petrol pump and Manna flouted rules by investing in it,” said Bhadra.

The ED has also sought permission from the courts to continue investigation of where the funds went.

The M P S group is one of the bigger ponzi scheme outfits in Bengal that are being probed by both the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED, following an order of the Supreme Court (SC) in May 2014. Apart from Saradha and M P S , other big groups being investigated in the state include Rose Valley and I Core.

M P S ran collective investment schemes without the mandatory license from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, with which it was locked in prolonged legal battles. In October 2013, Sebi froze its bank accounts.

Before they were voted out of power, the Left Front government, too, had taken steps against the group.

In August this year, the ED had submitted the charge sheet in the Rose Valley ponzi scheme case, pegging the amount involved at 170.5 billion, a figure about seven times of that mopped up by Saradha group. In terms of money involved, Rose Valley is the biggest scam so far.

Both Saradha chairman Sudipta Sen and Rose Valley promoter Gautam Kundu are behind the bars and their groups have caused embarrassment to the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Two Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MPs - Lok Sabha TC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, and actor-turned-politician, Tapas Paul, were also arrested, while the Saradha investigation sent former sports and transport minister Madan Mitra and Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh to jail. Upper House MP Srinjoy Bose and party vice-president Rajat Majumdar were also arrested.

However, investigating agencies have not established any links between political leaders and the MPS group so far.

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Thursday, January 27, 2022