CBI has arrested a tea garden owner and influential businessman Sandhir Agarwal in Kolkata for his alleged role in the Saradha chit fund scam after exhaustively questioning him with company Chairman Sudipta Sen and East Bengal club official Debabrata Sarkar.
CBI sources said Agarwal, a prominent businessman well connected in political and business circles, was taken into custody late last evening.
They said his arrest assumes significance as he is alleged to have protected Sen from the action of regulatory bodies like Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) using his connections. Agarwal is suspected to have acted as middleman with Sebi and other regulatory bodies and saved Sen from their action, CBI sources said. Sen is believed is have told CBI that Agarwal had allegedly taken a substantial fee in crores of rupees for helping him keeping off Sebi and other regulatory bodies from acting against him, they said.
CBI sources said it was felt during the probe that Agarwal’s custody was important for further investigation.
There are four FIRs against Saradha Group in which it is alleged that thousands of investors were allegedly duped by the company officials and their associates who swindled their deposits.Besides there are 44 FIRs in Odisha against ponzi companies. The Supreme court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam to CBI and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the CBI team probing the matter.
CBI has formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Joint Director Rajiv Singh to also probe the role of Sebi and RBI.