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CBI sets up SIT to probe Saradha chit fund scam

Monday, 12 May 2014 - 3:50pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

CBI today constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Saradha chit fund case in which investors in four states were allegedly duped of over Rs 10,000 crore. The SIT, to be headed by Joint Director Rajeev Singh, will also probe the role of market regulators like Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and RBI.

CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said that the SIT constituted under Joint Director (Northeast) will have agency officers from West Bengal, Odisha, the Northeast and Bihar. "The SIT will soon collect all relevant documents before registering the FIR in the matter. The CBI will also look into the larger conspiracy angle," Prasad said.

The team was formed in the wake of the Supreme Court order on a PIL on Friday asking CBI to probe the matter and directing the state police forces to cooperate with the central agency in the investigation. The CBI will also look into the role of regulators like SEBI, authorities under the Companies Act and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as directed by the apex court, agency sources said.

"Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of regulatory authorities like SEBI, Registrar of Companies and officials of the RBI within whose respective jurisdictions and areas of operation the scam not only took birth but flourished unhindered," a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said in its order. The SIT will take a legal opinion to decide whether one case has to be registered or separate cases required to be filed, the sources said.

The apex court said that the CBI would conduct the probe against Saradha and 44 other companies in Odisha which are allegedly involved in the scam. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also looking into money laundering charge against the Saradha Group and has registered five cases so far.

Saradha Group's chief Sudipta Sen was arrested by West Bengal Police in Kashmir last year. Kunal Kumar Ghosh, a Trinamool Congress MP, was also arrested on November 23, last year in connection with the scam. Ghosh was the media CEO of Saradha Group of Companies.

"Investigation by the State Police in a scam that involves thousands of crores collected from the public allegedly because of the patronage of people occupying high positions in the system will hardly carry conviction especially when even the regulators who were expected to prevent or check such a scam appear to have turned a blind eye to what was going on," the apex court had said.




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