Film stars, high-profile politicians, several newspapers and anything and everything one can imagine… at its dazzling peak, Saradha Group had it all. Reports suggest that at one point of time, the Group had as many as eight newspapers. An Editor at one of its newspaper was getting whopping Rs 16 lakh per month! So what exactly happened that changed the fortune of the Group and turned it into one of the biggest ponzi scams that India has seen? As Mamata Banerjee fights it out with the Narendra Modi government at the Centre over the CBI probe, we bring you the ultimate guide on Saradha scam:
1: It all began in early 2000s, when well-known businessman Sudipta Sen set up the Saradha Group. It was around this time that he also launched unique collective scheme. With thousands of commission agents spread across West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Jharkhand, Saradha Group offered its investors very high returns.
2: From National Award actor and Rajya Sabha MP Mithun Chakraborty to popular matinee star Satabdi Roy, Saradha Group had many high-profile brand ambassadors. In no time, the group amassed assets worth Rs 2,500 crore.
3: But the alarm bells started ringing in 2009 when several politicians claimed the Saradha Group was laundering the money of the investors. In 2013, the scheme collapsed. On April 20, 2003, Sen and his close aide Debjani Mukherjee were arrested from Jammu and Kashmir’s Sonmarg.
4: In 2014, the Supreme Court transferred all cases related to Saradha Scam to CBI. The probe agency discovered that Sen’s Group had laundered money to places such as Singapore and South Africa.
5: But how exactly is Saradha Scam connected to Trinamool Congress. At the heart of the scam is Sens’s brilliant networking skill. At the height of his popularity, Sen was friends with top Trinamool leaders. In fact, Saradha Group donated several bikes to Kolkata Police for patrolling purpose. Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra was heading the employee union of the Group. During the probe, ex-Assam DGP Shankar Barua allegedly committed suicide after the CBI questioned him and searched his house in the chit fund case.
6: Rajeev Kumar, the Kolkata Police Commissioner, has been accused of destroying the evidence in the case. Despite several notices from the CBI, Kumar never joined the investigation. According to the CBI, the SIT did not hand over the Sudipta Sen’s diary, which allegedly has all details of the payments made to important individuals