Bengal chit fund kingpin's run through N India ends in J&K, held in Sonamarg

FPSudipta Sen

Sudipta Sen, the absconding alleged kingpin of West Bengal's multi-crore chit fund scam, was picked up along with two senior employees of his company at a hotel in the picturesque resort town of Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway late on Monday evening.

Police officers from West Bengal have confirmed their identities, and are likely to get formal custody of the trio after they are presented in court on Wednesday.

Sen, who has been fleeing police and the wrath of thousands of small investors in West Bengal since an alleged Ponzi scheme run by his Saradha Group collapsed in spectacular fashion this month, arrived in Hotel Snowland in Sonamarg on Monday after a 12-day road trip across north India in the company of Debjani Mukherjee, a director in his group, and Arvind Singh Chauhan, a senior associate based in Jharkhand.

Some hours later, Jammu & Kashmir Police, alerted by their counterparts in Kolkata and Bidhannagar, swooped on the trio, who confessed who they were. Police in Bengal were alerted, and a team left Kolkata for Srinagar at 9 am on Tuesday.

"Sen has been detained at Sonamarg," DIG (Kashmir) Ahfad-ul-Mujtaba told The Indian Express. "He was taken into custody based on an input from police in West Bengal. Two more persons have been detained with him."

A senior official at the Bidhannagar police commissionerate — which is investigating the chit fund scam — said Sen left Kolkata with Mukherjee in the early hours of April 10 after packing his family off to a shelter in Noida.

They drove to Ranchi in a white Scorpio, where they dumped the vehicle's driver and picked up Chauhan, who took the wheel. The driver, who was told to go back to Kolkata, later gave vital information to police.

Sen, Mukherjee and Chauhan drove on to Delhi, Haridwar, Dehradun and finally, through Punjab, to J&K. Sources said they kept away from airports and train stations, possibly to avoid running into police. They checked into at least seven hotels before reaching Sonamarg, the sources said.

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