The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 21 , 2017

Ponzi scam victims at governor Murmu's door

Chit fund scam victims protest at Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

Ranchi, March 20: Over 100 victims of the chit fund scam of Alchemist Infra Realty, a company owned by the Trinamul Congress sitting Rajya Sabha MP K.D. Singh, held a demonstration at Raj Bhavan today and requested governor Droupadi Murmu to help them get their hard-earned money back.

They submitted a memorandum to the office of governor and shouted slogans against Singh, as well as top executives of the company Indrajeet Roy, Falguni Ghosh and Bodhisatta RoyChoudhary who allegedly opened branch offices in almost all districts of Jharkhand and asked unsuspecting people to invest in it.

Organised under the aegis of Alchemist Niveshak Pidit Sangh, protesters came from Ranchi, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Giridih, Koderma and even neighbouring districts of Bengal. They had also brought a list of innocent investors who allegedly died over the years from shock after the company swindled them of their lifelong savings.

"We don't expect Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to act against K.D. Singh and his company because the reasons are obvious to everybody. I deposited Rs 10 lakh after retirement, which was my hard-earned money for my daughter's marriage. Today I am going from pillar to post for my money," said one Sanjay Kumar Mondal from Jhargram in Bengal, which borders Jharkhand.

Sunil Kumar from Bokaro, an investor and agent of Alchemist group, narrated his trauma since the past two years. "I invested Rs 7 lakh on my own and as an agent I raised around Rs 1 crore from my clients. I am not in a position to pay back money to my clients and they are now after my life," he said.

The protesters named Devendra Prasad, Ramawadh Singh, Banke Bihari Singh, Mahendra Singh (all from Bokaro), Tinku Yadav (Koderma), and Uday Sen, Amar Sen and Ravi Sen (Ghatshila) as those who died of depression or cardiac problems due to the shock of the scam,

They bemoaned that neither CBI nor the state police were investigating the cases and the Sebi also did not seem serious about persuading the company to pay back customers.

Right after the Saradha ponzi scam surfaced in Bengal in 2013, Jharkhand state department of institutional finance started monitoring 28 chit fund companies, including Alchemist Infra Realty which earned a dubious tag from Sebi. Sebi accused the Rajya Sabha MP's company of perpetrating a scam worth Rs 1,000 crore in Jharkhand.

In May 2015, Jharkhand High Court directed the CBI to investigate chit fund cases lodged in Jharkhand.

But three months later, the court stayed the CBI probe against Alchemist after former Union minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of the company saying it was not given an opportunity to defend its case. The company also claimed it would return money to investors. Hence, the CBI did not take up any case related to this company.

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