CPM sees red in delay in attaching Saradha properties

The CPI(M) Monday questioned the delay by Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal in attaching the properties of Saradha Group and 25 other such firms even as it demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the chit fund fraud in the state.

"The loss of time in attaching their properties is permitting these companies to clandestinely transfer their assets. We feel there is a complicity of the state government in blocking investigations and not attaching the properties," CPM leader Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.

He said Bengal government should refund investors' money through an auction of the assets of these companies as per the laid-down legal norms. The move to "dole out money out of its coffers to some of the lakhs of small investors" who lost their savings was also illegal, he added.

Observing that the amount defrauded by these companies totalled to about Rs 1 lakh crore, including about Rs 30,000 crore by Saradha, he pointed out that the Rs 500 crore fund created by the state to provide relief to the investors was "less than one per cent of the total."

Yechury and the state's Leader of Opposition Suryakanta Mishra were talking to reporters after meeting Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot to seek speedy action against the chit-fund firms.

Referring to allegations by suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh against another riling party MP of "having irregular financial relations with Saradha Group", Mishra said that was all the more reason for immediately launching a CBI probe under the apex court's supervision.

To a question about Ghosh threatening to reveal names of more Trinamool leaders, he said, "He should give out the names. He should also cooperate with the SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) probe. He should have the courage to do that."

As to what action the erstwhile Left Front government had taken against such frauds, Mishra said it had not only attached the properties of such firms and compensated the victims, but also moved a PIL in Calcutta High Court on the matter.

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