Guwahati, April 23 (IANS) After West Bengal, duped investors of the Saradha Group in Assam came out on to the streets in protest Tuesday, leading the administration to seal several offices of the company after mobs broke in and ransacked them.
The protests started in Guwahati, Mangaldai and Dhubri towns of Assam, where several investors and agents took to the streets and held sit-ins in front of the offices of the Saradha Reality Limited.
No company officials were, however, present in any of the offices which were found locked. Irate mobs broke in and vandalised some properties in different offices, while the company's agents, who had been facing the heat from the investors, ransacked the group's realty and agro industry in Guwahati and a biscuit factory in Dhubri.
While some of the investors were yet to get the payments from the company, some of them were given cheques by the company but these bounced when deposited in banks.
The employees of the group's English daily "Seven Sisters Post" and Bengali daily "Sakalbela" also complained that they had not been paid salaries for the past three months.
Landlords of premises where the group's various offices were located in Zoo Road, Lal Ganesh and other areas here also alleged that they were also not paid rent before the newspapers closed down in March-April.
A senior Assam Police official said there were several cases registered against the Saradha Group in different locations of the state and that police are investigating them. "Based on the complaints, we have also been raiding the offices of the Group and sealing those," the official said.
Although no one could ascertain the volume of money the group collected from the state, it is supposed to be several thousand crores of rupees. The group had several offices in each of the towns and districts in Assam and thousands of agents to collect the daily, monthly or annual investments from the investors.