The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 30 , 2014
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ED to attach Saradha properties

Guwahati, April 29: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will initiate the process for attachment of properties acquired by the scam-hit Saradha Group in Assam.

A source today said the ED had located properties belonging to the group in Assam and an attachment order would be issued soon.

The source said the group’s properties in the state had been tracked down based on the statements of some of its former employees and individuals with whom Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen had financial dealings.

“These statements were recorded by the ED at its Guwahati zonal office here some months ago,” he added.

The source said Justice Shyamal Sen Commission, set up by the Bengal government to disburse money to investors duped in the Saradha scam, had recently summoned four persons from Assam, including two politicians and a former employee of the group, to appear before it and record their statements about the group’s properties.

“At least two of them have already deposed before the commission and recorded their statements but I am not sure about the other two,” he said.

The attachment proceedings will be initiated by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The properties will be attached as “proceeds of crime” since these properties were allegedly bought with money the group had fraudulently collected from the depositors.

The source, however, refused to give details of the group’s assets in Assam, which are likely to be attached by the ED, since the attachment order is yet to be issued.

The investigation into the Saradha Group’s properties in Assam is being conducted by the ED’s Calcutta office with the help of its zonal office in Guwahati.

The Saradha Group owns a five-storey building and a newspaper printing machine in Guwahati, a plot of land measuring around 34 bighas on the city’s outskirts at Sonapur, a biscuit factory and a three-storey building in Dhubri, and a few vehicles, among others.

The ED has asked the public to furnish information and particulars of properties, both movable and immovable, as well as bank accounts, if any, related to Saradha Group known to them.

The Saradha Group went bust in April last year after its flagship company Saradha Realty, which allegedly collected crores of rupees from small investors in Bengal, Assam and Odisha, could not return the maturity value to the investors and closed down its offices without paying salaries to its employees.

Besides money laundering charges, the ED is also looking into allegations that the group may have violated foreign exchange laws. There are allegations that the group had transferred a large sum of money abroad through illegal channels. That aspect, too, is under investigation.