CBI custody of Saradha accused businessman extended

Kolkata, Aug 27: A city court today extended the CBI custody of city-based businessman Sandhir Agarwal who was arrested for his alleged role in the Saradha chit fund scam.

The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore Court, extended the CBI custody of Agarwal by five days till September one on a prayer by CBI for further interrogation of the businessman to unearth more information on the scam.

Agarwal is suspected to have acted as a middleman with SEBI and other regulatory bodies for Saradha Group chief Sudipto Sen and shielded him from action, according to CBI sources. Sen is believed to have told CBI that Agarwal had taken a substantial fee for helping him keep SEBI and other regulatory bodies from acting against him, they said.

The central probe agency had arrested Agarwal on Saturday evening after questioning him for hours. The Alipore court, before which he was produced on Sunday, had granted custody of Agarwal to CBI till today.

There are four FIRs against Saradha Group in which it is alleged that thousands of investors were duped by the company's officials and their associates who swindled their deposits. Supreme Court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam probe to CBI and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the agency.

CBI has formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Joint Director Rajiv Singh to also probe the role of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and RBI. "The investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of regulatory authorities like SEBI, Registrar of Companies and officials of RBI within whose respective jurisdictions and areas of operation the scam not only took birth but flourished unhindered," an apex court bench headed by Justice T S Thakur had said in its order.


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