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Investors form forum
- Non-Saradha depositors demand refund, CBI probe

Siliguri, May 9: A forum of investors in north Bengal who had deposited money with fund mobilising companies other than the Saradha Group today demanded a CBI probe into the functioning of the firms, most of which have shut down, after the Supreme Court ordered the agency to investigate the Saradha scam.

The Uttarbanga Amanotkari Suraksha Samiti (committee to protect investors in north Bengal) started working from mid-March and has its camp offices at Siliguri, Islampur, Raiganj, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and some other places in north Bengal to collect information about investments.

The body’s primary objective was to press for refunds.

“We are inviting investors and agents of non-Saradha companies across north Bengal (to give information). So far, over three lakh depositors and agents of 56 companies have submitted details to us indicating a total investment of not less than Rs 10,000 crore,” said Alokesh Chakraborty, convenor of the samiti.

Almost all agents working with these companies are investors themselves.

“Now that the Supreme Court has ordered a CBI probe in the default crisis, we want all these companies to be included in the investigation. Around 126 companies, other than Saradha, have collected money from people throughout north Bengal,” Chakraborty said today.

Today, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI would probe the Saradha scam.

The committee is also asking investors to sign the draft of an FIR along with letters addressed to the President, governor and chief minister urging them to look into the matter.

“We will continue this exercise (to collect information) till the end of the month and submit the mass FIR to the commissioner of Siliguri metropolitan police. We intend to send the details of these companies to the agency (CBI) as well,” Chakraborty said. “We are yet to collect information from the remote villages about small-scale companies that have operated at the district, subdivision and block levels. Such companies have mushroomed in places like Bhaktinagar in Siliguri and Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar. People have invested in these companies, either under monthly income schemes or to buy jewellery by paying in instalments. Such details are yet to reach to us.”

Bipul Dutta, a Siliguri resident who works for a private construction firm, had invested Rs 1 lakh in two fund mobilising companies.

“Several people, who had invested in Saradha, up to Rs 10,000, had got the money back. But for people like us, who invested in other companies, nothing has been done by the state government. Our only appeal is that we should get our deposits back and the scams investigated,” he said.

Agents of the Saradha Group also insisted on refund.

“I had deposited Rs 1.60 lakh and 30-odd people had together invested around Rs 1 crore through me. Some of them, who had deposits of less than Rs 10,000, have got refund. We want the process of refund to continue.” Sanjoy Dey Sarkar, a Saradha agent, said.