ED files first charge sheet in Saradha ponzi case


Kolkata, April 1: Four days before West Bengal goes to Assembly polls, Enforcement Directorate (ED) Thursday filed its first charge sheet in the multi-crore rupee Saradha chit fund scam case naming ex-Trinamool Congress MP Srinjoy Bose and Chairman of the now-defunct group head Sudipta Sen among others.

The over 10,000 pages charge sheet, also called as the prosecution complaint by ED, was filed before a special sessions court here.

The agency has named 21 accused in the charge sheet which includes 10 individuals and eleven companies which it had investigated for over three years under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Apart from Bose, who quit both Trinamool Congress and his Rajya Sabha membership early this year, ED has named Sudipta Sen, his senior employee in the Saradha group Debjani Mukherjee, his wife Piyali Sen, son Shubhojit, businessman Shantanu Ghosh and Ramesh Gandhi, Saradha agent Prashant Naskar, former Union Minister Matang Sinh and his estranged wife Manoranja Singh.

The agency has issued four orders for attaching properties worth about Rs 600 crore in this case till now, which have been also furnished in the charge sheet. It registered a case under PMLA in 2013 taking cognisance of police FIRs of West Bengal, Assam and Odisha.

The charge sheet, official sources said, has also put on record the transactions made through 91 bank accounts, out of the total 338, that were used to indulge in the alleged chit fund scam on numerous gullible depositors in the three states.

ED has pegged the amount of the scam at Rs 2,500 crore and has conducted a detailed investigation involving lakhs of multi-layered transactions and found that “more than 90 per cent of such companies existed only on paper and only 17 companies out of the 224 companies actually had carried out some business.”

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The charge sheet, sources said, only pertains to the spread of the scam in West Bengal, which goes to polls beginning April 4, and not in Assam and Odisha.

The six-phase polls to the 294-seat Assembly will end on May 5 and counting of votes will take place on May 19 for West Bengal and the four other states.

Officials did not rule not filing more charge sheets in the case.


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