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Sen cars to be auctioned

Calcutta, Dec. 12: The Justice Shyamal Sen Commission has decided to auction over 40 cars of the Saradha Group as part of attachment and liquidation of assets.

The decision to monetise movable assets of the group, which perpetrated a default crisis that affected lakhs of people across Bengal, comes days after the commission wrote to districts magistrates requesting that they submit lists of immovable Saradha properties such as plots to the block land and land reforms offices.

“The special investigation team has already seized 64 vehicles of different makes. Of these, some 20-odd are hypothecated to different financial institutions and so they cannot be auctioned. But the remaining 44 will be put on the block,” said Justice Sen, the chairman of the commission that is tasked with gauging the extent of the default crisis and identifying beneficiaries of government compensation.

“The modalities are being worked out,” he added.

The vehicles to be auctioned include arrested Saradha chief Sudipta Sen’s Mercedes Benz, which was seized in May from the Deshapriya Park home of a friend of his son. The Mercedes Benz has a Haryana registration number.

The vehicle has a “VIP” number — HR10 J 3434 — allotted against extra payment. The Merc, registered in Sonepat district, used to be driven by Sen’s son Subhojit.

Sources said the commission had decided to take the help of a central government trading company that specialises in auctioning landed properties and vehicles across India.

The Saradha vehicle auction is scheduled to begin in January, before which the agency will fix a reserve price for each.

“We could opt for e-auction, where buyers would have to register by paying a fee before participating in the bidding process,” said a senior commission official.

“There will not be any ceiling on the number of bids one can place. The winners will be informed by email and the payments will have to be made at the regional offices of the (central government) company,” he added.

The commission has learnt that the Saradha Group had 296 vehicles. Police have seized 64 so far. “The remaining vehicles are lying in various districts. We will seize them shortly,” a police officer said.

The regional transport offices in the districts have traced all 296 vehicles, including a fleet of Maruti Alto cars that were bought a few months before Saradha went bust.