WB Chit Fund Scam: With Refund Process Stuck, Victims Threaten Gherao of Nabanna
Nabanna. Image Courtesy: NDTV
If the process of refund does not start immediately, the victims of chit fund corruption will now walk the path of the siege of ED, CBI, and Nabanna (civil secretariat): this call came from a meeting of the Chit Fund Sufferers’ United Forum at Kolkata's Y Channel on Monday.
The meeting was attended by CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty, MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, former Opposition leader of WB Assembly Abdul Mannan, and other leaders. A large number of swindled agents and depositors from the north and south Bengal attended the meeting.
In 2013, a huge chit fund scandal came to light in the state. In 2014, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into the case. However, the investigation process has stalled after eight long years. Speakers at the meeting said that due to the secret collusion between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP, the investigation process and the process of returning the money to the victims are stalled. Depositors and agents are becoming increasingly endangered. It was demanded that this process should be started immediately.
Though the governor and the chief minister were supposed to be deputed from Monday's protest rally, she eventually refused to do so. According to Nabanna, she will not be able to take deputation for fear of Covid infection. However, the governor has taken deputation.
At yesterday's protest rally, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “We have to walk in the path of a united movement like the peasant movement and realise our demands. We have to continue our movement till the demand is fulfilled.” He further said that due to the secret collusion of TMC and BJP, other agencies, including ED, CBI, and SEBI, have gradually slowed down the investigation process.
CPI(M) MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said the present government in the state had blocked the process of returning the money to the affected swindlers. “Although the High Court and the Supreme Court have ordered the sale of properties of various chit funds, including Saradha and Rose Valley, to return the money to the depositors, the state government is obstructing the process. In fact, this government has been made with the money of chit funds. So the SIT has actually squandered the evidence in the name of an investigation. This government is not cooperating with the deceived,” Bhattacharya claimed.
He further said that they bought Mamata Banerjee's picture with the money from Chit Fund, which they spent on her helicopter ride.
“As soon as this scandal came to light, she stopped painting. In this corruption case, the court has ruled that the property of 54 chit fund companies should be sold, and the money should be returned to the victims. That is why the SP Talukdar Committee has also been formed. But the state government is not cooperating with this committee. Similarly, the role of the Central government is also disappointing. In this situation, money cannot be returned without putting pressure on the two governments. So there is no alternative but to join the movement,” he said.
Former Congress MLA Abdul Mannan was present at the meeting. Speaking at the meeting, he said the CBI had arrested several people in 2014 in connection with the chit fund investigation. However, due to the intervention of the present Prime Minister, all the investigations have been suppressed.
“The state chief minister sat in a dharna to avoid the arrest of SIT chief Rajiv Kumar. To date, the CBI has not been able to take Rajiv Kumar into custody. On the other hand, more than 200 agents and depositors in the state have been forced to commit suicide after disappearing from the chit fund. This number is more than 300 in the whole country,” Mannan added.
Incidentally, in the state's chit fund case, the names of several leaders, ministers, MPs and influential people of the ruling party have come to the fore. They have faced interrogation by CBI and ED at different times.
On June 26 this year, the Calcutta High Court ordered the return of money to the swindled in the Saradha case. A division bench of justices Indraprasanna Mukherjee and Shuvendu Samanta directed to sell the confiscated properties of Saradha Group and deposit the money in the court.
The court ruled that all confiscated properties of the Saradha group should be sold within the next three months. The amount raised from the sale will have to be paid to the Talukdar committee. The court also ordered the sale of three properties owned by SEBI.
It is to be noted that SP Talukdar Committee was formed in 2015 under the direction of the Calcutta High Court. In 2016, the committee started its work. This committee recovered Saradha's money from different places. A committee headed by Shyamal Sen was also formed to return the money to the swindled.
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