Arrested chairman of scam-hit Saradha group Sudipta Sen was planning to apply for a bank licence with a capital of over Rs 1,000 crore funds allegedly cobbled from the money of numerous duped investors, an investigation has revealed.
The business venture, which could have been named ‘Saradha bank’, was being allegedly planned as a new market foray of the diversified group by Sen, but as investors raised their voices of being cheated early last year, the project could not see the light of the day.
In fresh revelations made by the investigating agencies of this case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has found and recovered documents which were to be used by the group for applying for a fresh bank licence, an opportunity that was announced by country’s banking regulator RBI in February 2013.
The RBI, had then issued guidelines for application procedures for obtaining new bank licences and the deadline for it was kept as July 1.
This year in April, the RBI granted licences to two of the total 25 applicant business groups. The banking regulator had advertised this opportunity after almost a decade, the last being in 2003-04.
An investigation note, prepared by the ED and other probe agencies and accessed by PTI, states that documents were recovered by them during searches on the premises of the Saradha group which revealed that Sen was indeed planning and putting together his resources to apply for a bank licence.
“The capital for this bank could have been anywhere above Rs 1,000 crore and the group was banking on the funds that its front companies had collected by floating the ponzi schemes which are now under probe after the scam broke out,” a source privy to the development said.
Documents related to RBI guidelines, rules and regulatory compliances required for applying a bank licence were recovered during detailed searches, sources said, adding some of them were found after data was forensically recovered from computer hard discs.
“Had the scam not broken out, the group would have applied for the license. We get to understand that the brand name for this future business venture would have been showcased as ‘Saradha bank’,” the source said.