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CBI lens on deposit firms

Calcutta, June 20: The CBI today decided to probe complaints of irregularities in the functioning of some deposit-mobilising companies, a day after Sebi ordered a Rose Valley firm to wind up a collective investment scheme and refund investors within three months.

“In keeping with the Supreme Court’s directive, we will probe the role of several other cash-collection companies besides the Saradha Group. We have lodged a number of FIRs against such companies in Odisha,” a senior CBI officer said.

The agency did not specify which companies would be brought under its scanner.

While the three FIRs lodged by the CBI in Bengal deal only with Saradha, the agency has lodged 46 FIRs in Odisha against several other companies, including the Arthsatwa Group, the Seashore Group and Rose Valley Microfinance.

The CBI’s decision to look into the functioning of some more companies allegedly collecting deposits from people in Bengal comes in the wake of a series of complaints the central agency received from duped investors.

Today, around 200 investors and agents of MPS Green Developers’ Limited went to the CBI’s Salt Lake office and lodged a written complaint alleging that they had not been refunded.

“Around 40,000 to 50,000 investors in and around Calcutta had deposited money in various schemes floated by the company. CBI officers today told us that our complaint would be looked into,” said Kinjal Bhattacharya of the Investors’ Association Central Committee MPS Green Limited, an organisation of depositors.

Members of the association said MPS Green Developers’ Limited had floated monthly income and fixed deposit schemes offering high returns. Bhattacharya alleged that most of the investors whose schemes had matured a year ago were yet to be refunded.

CBI officers said the agency would try to find out where the money collected from the depositors had been parked.

A senior MPS official denied the allegations and said the company was in the process of refunding depositors whose schemes had matured.

Yesterday, capital market regulator Sebi ordered Rose Valley Real Estates and Construction Ltd to refund to investors money collected through its Ashirbad scheme within three months and barred the promoters of the Bengal-based entity from the securities market.