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Assam taps Bengal over ‘fraud’ firm

Guwahati, Feb. 10: Assam police have written to two districts in Bengal not to allow sale, transfer or lease of land and properties belonging to the Jeevan Suraksha Group that has allegedly defrauded crores of rupees of depositors’ money in the state.

An official source today said the Bureau of Investigation (Economic Offences) of the Assam police, which is probing three cases of alleged fraud against the company, had made the request to the district magistrates of Birbhum and East Midnapore, as the company has property in these two Bengal districts.

He said they had also asked the deputy commissioners of Nagaon, Barpeta and Kamrup (metro) in Assam to do the same, as the company also had property there.

Birbhum district magistrate J.P. Meena received the Assam police communication two days ago though East Midnapore is yet to officially confirm receipt.

A senior official of Birbhum said, “In the communication, Assam police have requested us not to allow sale, lease or transfer of properties in the name of the three directors of Jeevan Suraksha group — Arju Acharjee, Ashok Chakraborty and Chandan Das — as well those in the name of the company in Birbhum. But it will be difficult for us to get the details of all the properties because the information from Assam is inadequate.”

In East Midnapore, a senior official said he was not aware of any such a letter. “It may be that the letter has arrived but is still at the receive section of the district collectorate. Moreover, we are very busy making arrangements for the chief minister’s programme in the district on Tuesday.”

The Bureau of Investigation (Economic Offences) registered these cases — number 26/2010, 17/2012 and 18/2012 — based on complaints that the finance company had duped hundreds of depositors across the state of crores of rupees by making “false” promises of giving lucrative returns on their investments.

“The bureau had collected the list of properties owned by the company from the office of the Registrar of Companies in Shillong and wrote to the district authorities of the two Bengal districts as well as the deputy commissioners of the three Assam districts to bar sale, transfer or lease of the company’s land and properties,” he said.

Bureau sleuths had also raided the company’s office at Dimapur in Nagaland and Lumding in Assam’s Nagaon district recently and seized computers and documents, among other things. The seized documents were records of the collection of public deposits by the company. “Both offices of the company have been sealed,” he said, adding that the bureau had also frozen around 30 bank accounts of the company and its directors.

He said the investigating agency is tightening the noose around the company since three of its four directors are currently absconding in connection with two cases and are allegedly not co-operating in the investigations.

“In connection with case number 26/2010, all the four directors of the company — Uttam Acharjee, Arju Acharjee, Ashok Chakraborty and Chandan Das — were arrested and later released on bail. Uttam Acharjee was arrested again in November last year in connection with the other two cases — number 17/2012 and 18/2012 — but the other three are absconding,” he said, adding that the bureau had recently issued a “look-out circular” against the absconding trio.

There were allegations that the company was collecting money from the people as recurring deposits through their agents in Assam with the promise that after maturity, they would return the principal amount with interest.

According to allegations levelled by the depositors, the company did not pay any money to its depositors from May last year and then its office bearers did the vanishing act by closing down its offices across the state as well as other parts of the Northeast.

“Moreover, the company was collecting public deposits from people without having Reserve Bank of India’s permission,” the source said.

On Friday, the bureau seized two vehicles — a Toyota Innova and a Maruti WagonR — from the rented apartment of Arju Acharjee at Beltola here.

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