With CBI set to register the first set of cases in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam this week, the agency today said the West Bengal government has been asked to provide to its team logistical support which as expected to be given soon.
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, who has been personally monitoring the developments of the case, said, "We have taken up the investigation in the right earnest as per directions of the Supreme Court." The apex court had last month handed over the case to CBI and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the CBI team probing the matter.
Denying media reports about demands made by CBI for SUVs and other things, Sinha said, "We have sought the assistance of the state government in terms of logistical support. "The media has been wrongly informed that exaggerated demands have been made." The CBI, which formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by a Joint Director, had approached West Bengal government with a request for meeting minimal requirements which included six vehicles and space for setting up a camp office.
Besides, the six vehicles with drivers, two landline phones with STD and Internet facilities, two photocopier machines and one fax machine, six desktop computers with printers and scanner, six laptops, eight mobile phones with SIM cards and eight almirahs for keeping documents have been sought from the state government.
While even these demands had not been met so far by the state government, the CBI director was hopeful that it would be fulfilling these basic requirements at the earliest. He said the focus of CBI was to expose the conspiracy behind the alleged scam.
The CBI has sought attachment of 10 inspectors and 20 constables of high integrity and competence to SIT for helping in the investigation-related work at this stage. "The scant resources of CBI would not have been able to meet the requirements of the alleged multi-crore chit fund scam in which several hundred cases have been registered in West Bengal alone. This is a very minimal requirement projected by CBI keeping in view the enormity of the case," CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad had said earlier.
The SIT, headed by Joint Director Rajeev Singh, will also probe the role of market regulators like Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and RBI.
CBI Special Director Anil Kumar Sinha has been asked to monitor the progress in the probe and exercise administrative control under the overall supervision of the CBI director. CBI will also look into the role of 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 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 had said in its order.
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.