First chargesheet names Sudipta Sen, Kunal Ghosh

CBI accuses them of cheating and conspiracy

Kolkata : CBI on Wednesday filed its first charge sheet in the multi-crore Saradha scam naming the company chief Sudipta Sen, close aide Debjani Mukherjee and suspended Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh, five months after it was ordered by the Supreme Court to probe the case.

They have been accused of cheating and conspiracy among other charges.

According to the CBI sources, the 25-page charge sheet also names five companies – Saradha Tours & Travels, Saradha Gardens, Saradha Realty, Saradha Constructions and Strategic Media, a company owned by Kunal Ghosh, were also named in the charge sheet, the sources said.

The charge sheet was filed by the investigation officer of the Special Crime Branch of CBI accompanied by its counsel with the Metropolitan Magistrate of the City Sessions Court. It was filed under Sections 120B, 409 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and also under Sections four and six of Prize, Chit and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978.

The agency would also continue its investigation under Section 173(8) of CrPC for ascertaining the role of other accused persons and financial transactions, the sources said.

The charge sheet was filed on a day when the Calcutta High Court rejected a petition seeking extension of the term of Shyamal Sen Commission formed to probe the ponzi scheme scam in which thousands of small investors were allegedly duped.

A bench of justices Dipankar Dutta and Asish Chakraborty dismissed the petition after the government counsel pleaded that the commission was an administrative decision and that the tenure will depend on the choice of the government.

Lawyer Arindam Das had filed the petition, saying the commission’s term ends today but many duped investors are yet to receive their compensation.

The scandal had come to light in April 2013, when the company closed shop across Bengal, unable to pay back around 17 lakh depositors – mainly poor people in small towns and villages – who had parked their life’s savings with the Group lured by the promise of huge returns.

Mr Ghosh, who is one of the accused in the case, has alleged that key politicians of the ruling Trinamool Congress are involved and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was aware of the matter.

Earlier on Monday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED)had attached properties of the Saradha Group worth around Rs. 100 cr.

Some of the properties were in the name of Saradha Group chief Sudipto Sen, while most of them were ‘benami’ because of the Land Ceiling Act which prevented him from transferring them in his name, the source said.

The multi-crore scam has also implicated West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is alleged close to Sudipta Sen.

The Saradha scam refers to an investment scheme run by the Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 private companies in West Bengal. The group collapsed last year, causing a loss of thousands of crores to over 17 lakh investors.

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