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Saradha, Rose Valley: Why Bengal is blocking the probe into a Rs 17,460 crore scam

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New Delhi, Feb 04: The Rose Valley and Saradha scams are not small financial frauds by any means. While the Saradha scam rocked the state, it was found that the Rose Valley scam was a bigger one.

Rose Valley Group chairman Gautam Kundu

The Supreme Court in 2014 weighed the gravity of these scams and decided that the state police could not undertake a fair probe and hence handed it over to the CBI.

Saradha scam: Evidence linking the high and mighty may have been destroyed, CBI sources

Officials tell OneIndia that the West Bengal government prior to the Supreme Court order had set up a Special Investigation Team to probe these cases.

The SIT was headed by Kolkata Police Commissioner, Rajeev Kumar and the team had collected crucial evidence that links influential people to the scam. There is an urgent need to question Kumar in connection with the evidence, he and his team had collected, a CBI source informed OneIndia. The officer also said that they have not been handed the evidence in full and suspect that it may have also been destroyed.

The Rose Valley Scam:

In 2015, the chairman of Rose Valley, Gautam Kundu had been arrested and probed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. The scam was estimated at a whopping Rs 15,000 crore.

With the arrest of Kundu, the focus shifted to the Rose Valley scam as it nearly ten times bigger than the Saradha scam. The ED had frozen 2,500 accounts of the Rose Valley group and the agency suspects that there are many more to be tracked and frozen.

An ED officer part of the probe says that though both the cases are independent, most of the suspects are common to both cases. Many names from the TMC had cropped up during the investigation and they remain common to both scams, the ED officer noted.

The agency had also arrested Madan Mitra of the TMC in connection with the Saradha scam. It was suspected that he may have played an alleged role in the Rose Valley scam as well.

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The name of TMC MP, Tapas Paul too had cropped up during investigations as he was the director in the company, the probe has also revealed. Officials say that the scanner is not just on some of the TMC leaders, but on CPM leaders as well.

We were aware that the deposits in both the Saradha and Rose Valley scams were collected for the first time when the CPM was in power. There are several CPM leaders who were aware of these scams but preferred to look the other way. While the making of the scam began when the CPM was in power, both Kundu and Sudipto Sen were quick to cozy up to the TMC when it came to power, officials also said.

Both Sen and Kundu had met Mamata separately at Deolo and this meeting was arranged at the behest of some TMC leaders. It has been found that these meetings were a courtesy call by both Sen and Kundu, the probe revealed.

The Saradha scam:

The probe into the Saradha scam revealed that the worth of the financial fraud was Rs 2,460 crore.

The arrested Saradha chairman Sudipta Sen was in "total control" of all deposits made by his group companies, which are under the scanner for having perpetrated the alleged fraud.

Four companies of the Saradha Group, used to mobilise money through three schemes - 'fixed deposit', 'recurring deposit' and 'monthly income deposit' - which lured innocent depositors with promises of either "landed property or a foreign tour" as incentive returns.

Investigations also revealed that for the years 2008-12 revealed that the four companies of Saradha Group had mobilised an amount of Rs 2,459.59 crore through issuance of their policies. "The investors were paid an amount of Rs 476.57 crore.

"As of April 16, 2013, the principal amount to be paid to the investors stood at Rs 1,983.02 crore," the probe showed.

Sleuths found that the four Saradha Group companies, namely, Saradha Realty India Ltd, Saradha Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd, Saradha Housing Pvt Ltd and Saradha Garden Resort and Hotels Pvt Ltd were in the business of mobilising money from gullible investors.

"Investors were also given the option of encashing their investment after the specified period along with very high returns," the probe said.

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