|Mallika Chatterjee. Picture by Amit Datta
Calcutta, April 30: The investor whose complaint has been cited by Bengal police to break open a bank locker at night and summon CPM leaders in the Saradha case has said “politics is being played out around my case”.
Mallika Chatterjee, a 46-year-old widow, had invested Rs 6.14 lakh in seven different schemes of the Saradha group since 2012. After Sudipta Sen’s arrest and the subsequent disappearance of the agent to whom she used to pay the money, Chatterjee had filed a complaint with Bidhannagar North police station on May 6 last year and later with the Justice Shyamal Sen commission.
None of them called her during the past several months.
However, almost a year after her complaint, the police have now called two CPM leaders to the station on the basis of Case No. 102 that was registered on Mallika’s complaint.
“Politics is being played out around my case. They are not going to help me. I don’t want to be part of this politics. I just want my money back,” said Chatterjee, sitting inside a room on the terrace of her niece’s house in Belur, Howrah, on Wednesday evening.
“I can see that my complaint has been in the news for the past few days and the police are calling several people regarding my case only. But why can’t they call me even for once? I did not even get a call from the commission’s office in the past one year,” Chatterjee added.
The officers of the Bidhannagar commissionerate sent notices to CPM leaders Gautam Deb and Sujan Chakraborty asking them to appear at the Electronics Complex police station in Sector V to answer queries on Case No. 102.
The police went to Deb’s home thrice yesterday — the last at 11.40pm — after he asked questions about the alleged wealth of the chief minister’s relatives.
Perhaps to play down the perceived connection between the two developments, the police today served a notice on Chakraborty, the CPM’s Jadavpur Lok Sabha candidate. Both CPM leaders have requested the police to reschedule the dates after the elections.
The police had also cited the same case (No. 102) when they broke open a locker held jointly by Sudipta Sen and his wife Piyali at the United Bank of India’s BD block branch to thwart the Centre-run Enforcement Directorate.
Chatterjee said her husband had passed away less than two years after their marriage, leaving behind nothing but a single-storey house over a 2-cottah plot at Keshtopur off VIP road.
Allegedly troubled by land sharks, Chatterjee had to sell the plot for a meagre Rs 8 lakh in 2007. Three years later, a friend told her about Saradha and its schemes.
“My friend told me that she had invested in Saradha and that it was fetching good dividends. She introduced me to her agent, Narottam Dutta, who convinced me showing photographs of the company’s properties and citing the TV channels owned by the group,” said Chatterjee.
At first go, she invested Rs 2 lakh for 15 months. She was promised a monthly return of Rs 2,500 against the sum and the return of the entire principal after the completion of the term.
Chatterjee got the promised monthly return, giving her the confidence to invest Rs 6.14 lakh more.
“I had come to know about the unrest in February 2013 but my agent said that I need not worry and paid me the month’s return. But after Sen was arrested, my agent was nowhere to be found. His phone was switched off and his house in Salt Lake was under lock and key,” she said looking at the photograph of Ma Sarada hanging from the wall.
She went to Bidhannagar North police station the very next day. “The officers said that I was a fool to have invested so much money with Saradha and that I deserved to be cheated. They even asked me not to waste their time by lodging the complaint since several other complaints had already been filed against the company and the owner had also been arrested,” she said.
However, she insisted on registering the complaint, which the officers finally did and transferred it to the Electronics Complex police station which called her two days later to look at her original documents.
“Since then, no one from the police has ever called me. I had visited the police station on several occasions asking for developments in my case but they said the culprits had already been arrested and that I should better give up hope of getting back the money. But I need it back badly,” said Chatterjee, wiping off tears with her dupatta and clearing the vapours off the spectacles.
A private nurse by profession, Chatterjee said she did not earn enough now to pay the monthly rent for a house and had thus been forced to live with her niece for the past one year.
“I can see the police are suddenly calling several people based on my complaint. I am just waiting for my call,” she said.