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SFIO to re-enter chit fund probe

This time focus will be on 194 entities that were operating under the garb of multi-level marketing or plantation schemes.

kolkata Updated: Jan 03, 2017 11:14 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
Saradha,Rose Valley,SFIO
File picture of Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen being brought to a court. The collapse of the group in April 2013 led to a series of failures of a number of fund-raising companies involving thousands of crores of rupees of millions of depositors that had political ramifications as well.(HT Photo)

Another round of multi-agency probe in the chit fund scam is in the offing with the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) all set to re- enter the investigation.

The probe by SFIO will not just cover Saradha and Rose Valley scams but also 194 new entrants in the shady financial operations under the garb of multi-level marketing (MLM) or plantation schemes.

“This time our probe will have more specifics on three aspects,” said an SFIO official associated with the probe on ponzi schemes.

An important point of the probe will focus on how these entities, both old operators and new entrants, managed to secure registration from the Registrar of Companies.

“Another aspect would be on how different agencies, both central and state, acted after being intimated about the shady activities of dubious entities,” the SFIO official added.

A third aspect will be on influential personalities who helped in getting the companies registered. Some of these people also ensured that there were no checks and balances to rein in these companies.

However, he added, this time the focus would be on the new 194 entrants that have been recently identified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of operating ponzi schemes under the garb of MLM or plantation schemes.

“The investigation of old operators such as Saradha, Rose Valley and Icore, among others, is almost over and we have submitted our preliminary report to our parent ministry. This time we may add some supplementary clauses to the preliminary report to give it a final shape,” the SFIO official said.

However, in the case of the new 194 entrants, SFIO will start its probe from scratch. “As informed to us by RBI, the apex bank has already identified the 194 new entrants who were illegally collecting public deposits and handed over the list to the West Bengal government for necessary follow- up action. We will talk to the officials of the state government concerned, especially those from the state finance department and the economic offence wing of the state police to find out whether any action was taken at all against such new entrants after receiving the RBI intimation,” the SFIO official said.

According to him, if necessary the agency will also question those influential personalities believed to have helped the new entrants to run the show or endorsing the schemes marketed by such entities.

“We will have two specific questions for these influential personalities. The first is whether they backed such entities without checking their credentials and real nature of their business. The second is why such influential people were not cautious even after scams like Saradha, Rose Valley and Icore came to limelight,” the SFIO official said.

First Published: Jan 03, 2017 11:14 IST