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Saradha scam: CBI conducts raids in Odisha

IANS 07 Aug 2014, 7:47:57 AM IST
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday conducted raids at three locations in Odisha in connection with West Bengal's Rs 10,000-crore Saradha chit fund scam, officials said.

Two days after filing the 28th case in West Bengal against the Saradha group and its chief managing director Sudipto Sen, the agency conducted these raids pertaining to Rely Foundation based in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

"We conducted raids at offices and residents of employees of Rely Foundation and recovered some important documents," a CBI official said.

The agency has till now registered 48 cases, including four in West Bengal and 44 in Odisha, in the alleged chit fund scam on the directions of the Supreme Court.

At least 44 companies were mentioned in the May 9 Apex Court order on a civil writ petition filed in 2013. Trinamool Congress's Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh is one of the accused.

CBI sources said role of regulatory bodies like the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the corporate affairs ministry will be examined according to the orders of the Supreme Court which had directed the CBI to probe the case.

The agency has registered cases for alleged criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy among others.

In 47 first information reports registered in Odisha, the CBI accused Pradeep Sethi, managing director of the Arthsatwa group, and Prashant Das of the Sea Shore group besides officials of Rose Valley Microfinance, Saradha group and Astha International among others, the sources said.

"In Odisha, the CBI has registered 43 cases against 43 companies and the then managing directors, then directors and others on allegations of cheating, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy. Scrutiny of more documents is being carried out for future course of action," the CBI official said.

The Supreme Court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam case to the CBI in May and asked state governments to provide all logistical help to the agency.

The CBI formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Joint Director Rajeev Singh to also probe the role of the SEBI and the RBI.

"Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of regulatory authorities like the 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," an Apex Court bench headed by Justice TS Thakur had said in its order.

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.