The Telegraph
Sunday , August 31 , 2014
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Dispur push to fraud firm drive
Another office sealed in 24hrs

Policemen seal the regional head office of PACL Ltd in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Aug. 30: The Kamrup (metro) district administration, intensifying its drive against deposit-collecting companies, today sealed the office of Pearls Agrotech Corporation Limited (PACL) here.

The office, located at Ulubari, was sealed by an executive magistrate in the presence of police.

Pearls’ office is the second to have been sealed after Rose Valley’s last night for functioning without no-objection certificate from the district administration under the Assam Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Act, 2013.

Sources said many more companies await a similar fate following the drive to verify the official records of these companies in the wake of the hue and cry raised following CBI searches on the residences of senior Congress MLAs and a former DGP in the multi-crore Saradha scam.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said the government has been taking steps to check fraudulent practices but admitted that more needs to be done given the number of cases being registered against these companies (see chart). They said such verification drive would not be confined to the city.

Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner M. Angamuthu said the office of the non-banking financial company (NBFC) was sealed as it could not produce any document showing permission from the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to operate in the state.

“PACL, which is a Jaipur-based company, claimed that they have permission from the Rajasthan government. We will examine the veracity of their claim,” he said.

Angamuthu said they have constituted three teams headed by an executive magistrate to check whether the NBFCs operating in the city have the required permission and necessary documents under the Assam Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Act, 2013, and RBI guidelines to operate in the city.

These teams today visited offices of several NBFCs located at Panbazar, Paltan Bazar, Dispur, Pandu and Maligaon areas and scrutinised their documents. “We have also sought details about the NBFCs operating here from the RBI,” he said.

In a release issued late this evening, the Kamrup (metro) administration sought the help of the public in the drive and asked the people to report any complaint they may have against such companies instead of panicking.

The Assam home and political department had handed over 15 cases related to deposit-collecting companies to the CBI vide letter No. PLA(V)151/2012/186 on May 6 last year.

The apex court had entrusted the cases to the investigating agency on May 9, 2014.

A CBI source today said the agency is questioning singer Sadananda Gogoi and Guwahati-based businessman Rajesh Bajaj in Calcutta in connection with Saradha’s financial deals and operations in Assam.

Later in the day, chief minister Tarun Gogoi issued a press statement daring the AGP and BJP to come out with concrete evidence of his alleged involvement in the chit-fund scam in the state.

“The two parties have been saying that since the scam has taken place in the state, the chief minister should also be probed,” a CMO source said.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi has also been demanding that Gogoi should be probed by the CBI as the scam could not have taken place without his knowledge.

Challenging the state BJP leaders to come out with proof of his involvement in the scam, Gogoi said, “The BJP is at the helm of affairs at the Centre. If they have any substantial evidence against me, why do not they come out into the open.”

Gogoi also asked Akhil to come out with evidence of his taking “commission” from deposit-collecting companies operating in the state.

“If the KMSS leader has concrete evidence that I have taken commission from chit-fund companies, let him submit the evidence or else he should tender unconditional apology publicly. Otherwise, he will be served a legal notice,” the chief minister said.

He reiterated that his government had handed over such cases, including that of Saradha, to the CBI much before the Supreme Court asked the investigating agency to probe the scam.