Karmakar at Beldanga after his rescue on Tuesday. Picture by Kaushik Pramanik
Behrampore/Malda, Aug. 12: Troubles are far from over for chit fund boss Ajay Karmakar as he was arrested yesterday on a cheating complaint.
Karmakar, who had been abducted on Saturday morning and rescued by police on Tuesday, was remanded in police custody for six days.
A complaint filed by Abdur Rauf Samim with Beldanga police also mentioned the names of others who had been similarly conned by Karmakar’s chit fund firm.
Samim brought the same charge against Kholesh Mondal, a resident of Kaliachak in Malda. Mondal was one of Karmakar’s associates and has been already arrested in connection with the abduction.
Today, Karmakar was produced before the chief judicial magistrate in Behrampore. He was remanded in police custody for six days.
Apart from Karmakar, six others had also been named in the complaint lodged by Samim with the Beldanga police station yesterday afternoon.
“The complainant said Karmakar had taken Rs 1.25 lakh from Samim, promising a double return in 10 months. But no money has been paid. Samim then went to Malda and found that six others were also involved in the scam,” said a police source.
Samim accused Karmakar and the company of diddling 123 people out of Rs 2.5 crore in the Beldanga area .
Gholam Mostafa, a bidi leaf trader of Beldanga, Jainul Haq and Mosarraf Hossain were among those conned by Karmakar. While Mostafa was allegedly swindled out of Rs 11 lakh, Haq and Hossain lost Rs 5.56 lakh and Rs 3.25 lakh respectively by investing in the chit funds.
Karmakar had been kidnapped from Surulia in Beldanga early on Saturday morning. He was on his way to Calcutta with 17 others in two SUVs when the abduction took place on NH34.
The 50-year-old chit fund boss was found at Narkelbari Ghat on Tuesday by the Rejinagar police. The kidnappers freed him when they got wind that the police were about to trace them by tracking their phone calls to Karmakar’s wife asking for ransom.
Karmakar told the police that Zahir Abbas and Bijoy Pal, residents of Beldanga, had been behind the abduction. The police have started kidnapping cases against the two and both are absconding.
Abbas’s wife, Yasmina Bibi, said her husband had not been involved in the kidnapping.
“Ajay Karmakar had swindled us out of Rs 8 lakh. We sold land worth Rs 1.5 lakh and gold jewellery. We had to borrow money from relatives also. My husband and some others whom Karmakar had owed money detained the cheat and wanted their money returned. If they were actually kidnappers, they would have killed Karmakar and dumped his body in the river,” she said.
“The police wrongly implicated my husband in the case,” she added.
The officer in charge of the Beldanga police station, B. Chattoraj, said the identities of four persons named in Samim’s complaint would not be disclosed.
“We are trying to catch all those involved in this racket,” Chhatoraj said.
Police sources said Karmakar had floated a company, Unipay2U in February 2010, seeking investments in gold. He had assured the investors of double returns in 10 months.
“The chit fund boss also recruited a number of youths in Beldanga as collection agents. However, Karmakar wound up the operations in the area and disappeared in February,” said a source.
The company had a branch in Malda as well.
Karmakar’s elder brother, Madan, said the chit fund boss had been warned against getting involved in the money racket. “We had a flourishing furniture business. But that, too, has been spoilt by Ajay’s exploits,” said madan.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said Karmakar had been investing his ill-gotten gains in property in Malda.
“The Manikchak police has found in the course of their investigations that the man had bought a four-cottah plot of land in Malda town and had invested Rs 55 lakhs in orchards in Manikchak,” he said.