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Jeevan Suraksha boss, wife held

Guwahati, May 15: Jeevan Suraksha Group managing director Chandan Das and his wife Sangita were arrested today from Barasat near Calcutta by sleuths of the criminal investigation department (CID) of Assam police.

A police source said Das, who was reportedly hiding at Barasat since October last year under the alias of Deepak Das, was arrested this morning from a house in the town in Bengal’s North 24-Parganas district by a Assam CID team led by additional superintendent of police Nirmal Baishya. The special operations group of the Bengal CID assisted the team.

Das and his wife, also a director of the company, were absconding after allegedly duping depositors across Assam of crores of rupees.

According to the source, a large number of “incriminating documents” and more than Rs 4.5 lakh in cash were seized from the couple, who were later produced in a Barasat court, which granted the CID a two-day transit remand to bring them to Assam.

They were flown to Guwahati on a Jet Airways flight from Calcutta this evening. Agitated depositors and employees of the group greeted the duo outside the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar, from where they were taken to the CID headquarters at Ulubari amid tight security.

“The duo is likely to be produced in court here tomorrow in connection with case number 81/2012 registered against them at the CID police station for allegedly duping their depositors,” the source said, adding that Das’s arrest was an “important” breakthrough for the investigators.

He said Jeevan Suraksha Group had made investments in a rubber plantation at Lumding, real estate in Guwahati and a drinking water project at Hojai, apart from the dairy, food processing, warehousing, media and education sectors in the state.

Former employees of the group had staged demonstrations under the banner of Jeevan Suraksha Workers’ Welfare Association at Dispur Last Gate on December 10 last year and in Chirang and Bongaigaon districts on January 5 against the fraud committed by the company.

The source said three more cases were registered against the group with the Bureau of Investigation (Economic Offences) of Assam police.

Bureau sleuths had raided the company’s office at Dimapur in Nagaland and Lumding in Assam’s Nagaon district a couple of months ago and seized computers and documents, among other things. The seized documents were records of the company’s public deposit collections. The bureau then sealed both offices of the company and froze around 30 bank accounts of the company and its directors.

It is alleged that the company collected money from people as recurring deposits through agents in Assam with the promise that on maturity, the principal amount would be returned with interest.

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

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

A few months ago, the BI(EO) sleuths had also seized two vehicles — a Toyota Innova and a Maruti WagonR — from the rented apartment of Arju Acharjee, another group director, at Beltola here.

According to sources, with today’s arrests, the number of Jeevan Suraksha officials arrested by Assam CID has gone up to seven. The CID had arrested two officials of the company — Jugal Kishore Jha (maturity in-charge) and Paban Malakar (cashier) — earlier this month, while two directors, Uttam Acharjee and Arju Acharjee, and a manager, Ashok Chakraborty, were arrested from Calcutta in March.