Sen, two associates sent to 14-day police custody

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 26, 2013 05:23 hrs

Amid angry slogans from Saradha depositors, Sudipta Sen, promoter of the scam-tainted group of companies, along with associates Debjani Mukherjee and Arvind Chauhan, were produced at the Bidhannagar court on Thursday.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate A H M Rahman remanded them to police custody for the next 14 days. The court has asked the Bidhannagar police commisionerate to provide details of cases against the three.

Sen was arrested on Tuesday in Srinagar, after being on the run for about a week. Local police said they'd taken the laptop and mobile telephones of the trio and 10 more officials of Saradha group might be arrested soon.

"Six cases have been filed against Sen and his aides," the police said, adding Debjani Mukherjee had a key role in the decision making of the group.

Adding to the drama outside the court, hundreds of Youth Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party workers demonstrated, demanding stiff punishment for Sen. The drama ended after police intervention and a lathi charge.

Meanwhile, in a public interest suit filed at the high court here, the government was directed to file an affidavit detailing the steps it had taken in the case. The court has also barred the Saradha group from any financial transactions.

Saradha apart, there was unrest in the districts, as more depositors of other chit funds demanded their money back. The owner of one of the companies was arrested last night.

On the political front, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) used the letter written by Sudipta Sen to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to question the role of lawyer Nalini Chidambaram, wife of Union finance minister P Chidambaram. Further, a letter from A H Khan, Union minister of state for health, has surfaced, which embarrassed the Congress. Khan wrote to the Prime Minister in 2012, withdrawing a complaint he'd made against Saradha.

"Saradha Realty is not in any chit fund, microfinance or NBFC (deposit) business and may, therefore, be out of the purview of the Reserve Bank of India. Saradha Realty is presently in compliance with all mandatory and legal guidelines of the Companies Act and without any noted violation of the ministry of corporate affairs," the letter, put on the TMC website, said, apart from seeking withdrawal of the complaint.

The TMC is demanding Khan's resignation.

In the political game, the CPI(M), whose leaders have not been specifically mentioned in any letter so far, stepped up the pressure on the TMC.

It took on the latter for announcing a Rs 500 crore relief fund. Party leader and former finance minister Asim Dasgupta said it was surprising that instead of paying off the investors by auctioning the confiscated assets of the chit fund group, the state government had sought to create a fund by imposing taxes on the public.

"Since people from more than one state were duped by the Saradha group's ponzi scheme, the CBI should also be roped in for the probe, said Dasgupta.

He also pitched for the arrest of political leaders, irrespective of the parties in the scam.

Surjya Kanta Mishra, head of the opposition in the state's legislative assembly, sought details of the flight Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently took from Delhi.

ED registers case
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money-laundering case in Saradha chitfund scam to probe the allegations of financial irregularities

"I have asked for details of the charter flight by which the chief minister and a dozen people returned to Kolkata and she was admitted to hospital," he said

More from Sify: