Kolkata, Dec 23: The ponzi scam became a major issue in West Bengal in 2014 giving sleepless nights to the ruling Trinamool Congress as many of its leaders came under the scanner and faced action.
After the duping of hundreds of investors allegedly by the Saradha Group, owned by Sudipto Sen last year, the resultant public outcry forced the Mamata Banerjee government to quickly form a commission under the chairmanship of retired judge Shyamal Sen with a view to return money to the investors by way of raising taxes.
While this effort of the government met with limited success, the commission now stood dissolved and the entire unearthing of the roots of the scam was left to the two central investigating agencies, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
At the instance of the Supreme Court on the basis of PIL filed a Congress leader, CBI started probing the Saradha scam about five months ago, while ED had already started long ago on a wider canvas which also included the Rose Valley Group.
With CBI looking into the criminal conspiracy angle of the scam, few top Trinamool leaders including a state minister were apprehended and taken into custody.
The arrest of leaders including Transport Minister Madan Mitra and two Rajya Sabha MPs Srinjay Bose and Kunal Ghosh by CBI came as a big embarrassment to Trinamool.
Banerjee claimed it was a conspiracy of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre with its quest for getting a space in the state's political sphere as the next assembly polls are due in 2016.
CPI(M) started squarely blaming the Trinamool Congress for the phenomenal rise of these firms during their stay in power since May 2011, while the latter retorted that the evolution of these companies started during the Left Front rule and the responsibility lay on them.
BJP put the blame on both Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) stating that both of them are accountable for the destructive trail which these entities had created. Regarding Rose Valley, ED was of the opinion that the extent of the crime was six times bigger than that of Saradha, although the latter was hogging the limelight due to its high profile nature as big names were involved. While the CBI had filed two charge sheets involving nine persons in the Saradha case, the ED was waiting for the former to proceed further before filing its own.
The ED had attached several properties of the Saradha Group under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and would move the court for an order for their auctioning. The directorate had also attached few thousand bank accounts of the Rose Valley group and also of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan football clubs.
During the course of the year, the ED had quizzed Trinamool MP actor Mithun Chakraborty and painter Subhoprasanna, also considered close to the party. It also interrogated another Trinamool MP Imran Hassan in the Saradha case.