Calcutta, Sept. 30: Mamata Banerjee today distributed compensation cheques among 929 duped investors of the Saradha Group, but the move was questioned by many officials who apprehended legal challenges and auditor scrutiny.
“Today, we have started the payment of compensationů. More than one lakh affected people will get the cheques from their district magistrates before the Pujas. Another three to four lakh will be given their cheques after Kali puja,” Mamata said this afternoon.
The finance department had on September 20 allotted Rs 50 crore under the “West Bengal Scheme for Affected Persons of Saradha Scam-2013”. The amount is being disbursed through the Justice Shyamal Sen Commission.
Senior Writers’ officials today said the state government’s move to disburse the money could prompt the comptroller and auditor general to pull it up for not following the budget guidelines.
“The budgetary rules don’t allow the state to compensate depositors of a private company. This apart, the scheme was cleared without obtaining the prior approval of the CAG,” a senior bureaucrat said.
As public money is being diverted, the scheme could also be challenged legally, the official added.
The chief minister said the government was following the recommendations of the commission, which has prepared a list of 1.04 lakh poor investors for compensation.
If at all the auditors raise objections to the government’s move, it can happen only towards the end of the fiscal year in February-March.
“But a legal challenge is possible any time,” the official added.