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Cases against celebrities, MPs in Saradha scam likely

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is gearing up to bolster the Saradha chit fund case as it prepares to register more cases against members of Parliament (MP) as well as celebrities for their alleged involvement in the multi-crore scam.

The investigating agency will lodge these first information reports (FIRs) in July. So far, CBI has registered 47 cases in the case. While it has brought under its lens the Securities Exchange Board of India and the corporate affairs ministry, none of the two has been named in the FIRs.

The CBI has named Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh in one of the FIRs along with Sudipta Sen, chairman of the Saradha Group. It will also probe the role of TMC MP and film actor Mithun Chakraborty, it is learnt. The Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the money laundering angle of the case, has already questioned Chakraborty for his alleged involvement in the scam.

The Supreme Court had in May directed the CBI to probe the Rs 10,000-crore Saradha scam and asked state governments to provide all logistical help to the agency’s team probing the matter. The CBI’s focus is on the “larger conspiracy” angle. While the scam spans across three states – Assam, Odisha and West Bengal — CBI sleuths feel the main culprits could be found from West Bengal itself.

The investigations so far indicate the money collected from the public was spread over 160 companies and spent away or siphoned off, and no major revenue was generated by any group company. The Supreme Court in its order said that “a huge gap between the amount collected and the investments made in real estate itself calls for effective investigation as to the trail of money collected by the group of companies.”

The Saradha scam had come to light in April 2013. Saradha Reality India Ltd. and its other 3 group companies collected money from the open market, reaching out to the general public by employing huge number of agents, in form of Investment under different Schemes viz., Fixed Deposits, Monthly Investment Scheme, Recurring Deposits.

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