Kolkata/New Delhi: A letter written by Saradha group promoter Sudipta Sen to the CBI has talked about the nexus between politicians and West Bengal chit fund industry. The 18-page letter, dated April 6, has named several TMC leaders of blackmailing him and getting huge benefits from his company.

Sudipta has claimed that he paid money to two top TMC MPs, one Assam minister and 22 others. It has also been stated that the TMC leaders were blackmailing him. However, refuting the charges, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said all allegations are baseless and her party workers don’t have any link with the chit fund scam accused.

The letter further stated that Sen was forcibly asked to buy a Bengali news channel. The two TMC MPs associated with some newspapers forced him to pay Rs 60 lakh per month to a Bengali newspaper. They also forced Sen to hire a CEO for the channel for which he was asked to pay a hefty salary of Rs 15 lakh a month excluding other allowances worth Rs 1.5 lakh. Sen claimed that after conceding to their demands, both the MPs had promised to protect the chit fund company from government’s interference.

He alleged that one MP had visited his Salt Lake residence where he was forcibly made to sign on some papers of selling out the news paper for a meager sum of Rs 55 lakh only.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government had on Wednesday frozen 35 bank accounts belonging to the Saradha group while 36 cars belonging to Sudipta was seized. Four office buildings in and around Kolkata belonging to the Saradha group have also been seized. The state government has appointed judicial commission to look into the complaints of investors.

Special task force to probe chit fund scam

The Corporate Affairs Ministry on Thursday said it would set up a special task force to investigate the chit fund scam. "The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has taken note of the misuse by certain chit fund companies who have raised huge sums of money from the public at large," an official release said.

It said although the state government was the appropriate authority to deal with these matters under the Chit Funds Act 1982, the Central Government has decided to probe the issue keeping in view the larger public interest involved. "In view of the larger public interest involved in these cases and concerns regarding misuse/laundering by such companies of the ill gotten wealth, and the possibility that the promoters of these companies may strip these companies, it has been decided by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to set up a Special Task Force," the ministry said.

The special task force will work under the Serious Fraud Investigations Office (SFIO). "Accordingly, all investigations into such companies are being entrusted to SFIO with immediate effect," it said.  "The task force will also co-ordinate with other law enforcement agencies and regulators wherever required," it added. The market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is also probing the fund-raising activities of the Saradha Group.