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Fund scam ‘suicide’

Burdwan, June 13: The director of a deposit-mobilising company who had been missing since last night was found hanging from a tree 1km from his Kalna home this morning.

Family members told police that Asit Das, 40, had been suffering from “depression” after some agents demonstrated in front of his house the day before yesterday demanding repayment of Rs 10 crore.

According to the police, Das was the director of MPB Infra-tech and Tour and Travels. The company has at least 20 branches in the state, with its headquarters at Baguiati in Calcutta.

Subhasis Sinha, 54, an agent of the company in Kalna, said: “Schemes worth Rs 10 crore had matured in Kalna, Memari, Manteswar, Katwa and adjoining areas. The company has at least 500 agents there.”

According to Sinha, around 200 agents had collected between Rs 70 lakh and Rs 80 lakh from people.

“We had repeatedly told him (Das) about our problems in getting new depositors. But he did not pay heed. He used to create pressure on us to get fresh depositors,” Sinha said.

Another agent, Swapan Singha, 36, alleged that Das had constructed a house at Salghara village in Kalna at a cost of over Rs 80 lakh with depositors’ money. He had also brought an SUV.

“We came to know about his lavish lifestyle hardly a couple of months ago. Then we stopped collecting money from depositors. Ten days ago, we had submitted some important documents related to the company to the Enforcement Directorate,” Swapan said.

The agent said he and 50 other employees met Das the day before yesterday at his home at Salghara. “When we told him to return the money of the depositors, he had an altercation with us. It had been decided that he would sit with us again on Friday. Now that he has committed suicide, we do not know how we would face the depositors,” an agent said.

District superintendent of police S.M.H. Meerza said the police had found a suicide note in which Das mentioned two names — (company owner) Amiya Kumar Mitra and his wife (co-owner) Monalisa Mitra — holding them responsible for the company’s plight.

He did not blame any agent for his death.

“We have started an investigation. The body has been sent for post-mortem,” said Meerza.