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Papers promised, CBI steps on Saradha gas

New Delhi, July 31: The Bengal police chief today told CBI director Ranjit Sinha that by next week the police would hand over all crucial documents relating to the Saradha scam, the assurance coming on a day the central agency searched 30 locations in Bengal and Odisha in connection with money-mobilising frauds.

“We have got some documents from Bengal police regarding the Saradha scam. The Bengal DGP (director-general of police G.M.P. Reddy) today promised to hand over the remaining crucial documents and files by next week. He assured us of all co-operation,” a senior CBI official said.

The agency had last week served Bengal police an “ultimatum” to hand over all Saradha-related documents by July 31 or face legal action for suppression and destruction of evidence.

“From today, we have started a full-fledged probe. We will soon question several influential people, including some top politicians from Bengal and Odisha,” Sinha said.

In Calcutta today, the CBI collected documents relating to Saradha’s bank transactions after searching 10 locations. Among the places raided were the Saradha headquarters in Sector V, the company’s owner Sudipta Sen’s house in the HA block in Salt Lake and the north Calcutta residence of Kunal Ghosh, who headed the media wing of Saradha. Ghosh and Sen are behind bars.

Three teams of the CBI conducted the searches. The homes of three other accused and the offices of Saradha Realty and Saradha Travels were also searched.

“Some of the documents we were looking for appear to have been seized from the head office of the Saradha Group by the SIT during earlier raids. We will send a fresh requisition for these documents from the state police,” said a senior officer of the CBI special investigation team set up for probing the default crisis.

In Odisha, CBI teams searched 20 locations, including the Bhubaneswar and Mayurbhanj homes of Biju Janata Dal MP Ram Chandra Hansdah, the party’s former MLA Subarna Naik’s home in Keonjhar district and former BJP MLA Hitesh Kumar Bagarti’s house in Nuapada district. The office of Nava Diganta in Bhubaneswar was also searched.

The official said Hansdah, Naik and Bagarti were founder members and directors of Nava Diganta Capital Services Limited, a money-mobilising company, against which the CBI has recently registered a case of alleged swindling, running into crores.

The central agency seized some documents and Rs 28 lakh cash from the Mayurbhanj residence of Hansdah. “We have asked the MP to give an explanation with regard to the source of the money,” a CBI official said. Hansdah could not be reached for comment.

Nayak said he resigned from the Nava Diganta board of directors in April last year after the scam surfaced. Bagarti said he was made a director without his knowledge and had lodged a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, Registrar of Companies and the Company Law Board in this connection.