No CBI response yet to chit funds probe request: Tripura

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Agartala, July 9: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is yet to respond to the Tripura government's request to probe the activities of the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in the northeastern state, Finance Minister Badal Chaudhury said here on Tuesday.

"We do not know why CBI has remained silent about our request to inquire into the illegal activities of the NBFCs," Chaudhury told reporters.

He said the NBFCs and UIBs (unincorporated bodies) are collecting funds illegally from people but their registered offices are in other states, mostly in West Bengal, and the state police or the CID have no authority to deal with them.

CBI has no response to Chit Fund probe

The Left Front government of Tripura in May asked the CBI to probe the illegal activities of the NBFCs and UIBs, which dupe people after accepting deposits on the promise of high returns.

After Assam, Tripura is the second state in the northeast India to request a CBI probe into the unlawful activities of the NBFCs and UIBs after a major chit fund scam was unravelled in West Bengal in April.

"Curbing unauthorised activities of the NBFCs and UIBs would be easier if the West Bengal government agree to CBI probe," Chaudhury added.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had earlier asserted that his government is determined to stop the illegal operations of chit funds in the state.

Sarkar added that 27 NBFCs have already shut down their offices in Tripura after collecting Rs.23.16 crore from people, and 90 such organisations are still working in the state.

The Tripura government has asked the NBFCs, locally called chit fund companies, not to collect deposits from the people, and to make due payments to depositors by July 31.

According to an official, the NBFCs, including Rose Valley, were violating the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, by collecting huge amounts of money from people by promising abnormally high rates of interest.

Rose Valley is one of the biggest chit fund companies in eastern India.

The actions against the NBFCs and UIBs in the state are being taken under the Tripura Protection of Interest of Depositors (in financial establishments) Act, 2000.

Police have arrested at least 30 important officials of the chit fund companies this year.

India's market regulator, SEBI, earlier banned the Kolkata-based Rose Valley and several other NBFCs from accepting deposits from the public.

Raids by police and district administration officials are being conducted at the offices of NBFCs across Tripura for the past several months. Many documents and properties have been seized.

"The raids and seizures, which were launched recently across Tripura, would continue till the illegal activities of the NBFCs are curbed," an official of Tripura's small savings and institutional finance department told reporters.

IANS

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