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Saradha scam: CBI registers 28th case in Bengal

New Delhi: The CBI Thursday registered 28th case in West Bengal against Saradha group and its chief managing director Sudipto Sen in connection with its ongoing probe in the Rs. 10,000 crore Saradha chit fund scam.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered the 4th FIR (First Information Report) in the state against Sen and others on the allegations of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

Tncluding this fresh case, the agency has till now registered 48 cases, including four in West Bengal and 44 in Odisha, in the alleged chit fund scam on the directions of the Supreme Court.

At least 44 companies were mentioned in the May 9 apex court order on a civil writ petition filed in 2013. Trinamool Congress's Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh is one of the accused. Meanwhile, the agency also conducted raids at seven locations in Odisha.

The raids were conducted at the offices as well as residences belonging to Midastouch Group and Echore Group. "Documents such as statements of accounts, cheques, deposit slips of several bank accounts, statement showing collection of deposits and expenditure recovered during the raids have been seized," said a CBI official.

CBI sources said role of regulatory bodies like the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the corporate affairs ministry will be examined as per the orders of the Supreme Court which had directed the CBI to probe the case. The agency has registered cases for alleged criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy among others.

In 47 first information reports registered in Odisha, the CBI has accused Pradeep Sethi, managing director of the Arthsatwa group, and Prashant Das of Sea Shore group besides officials of Rose Valley micro-finance, Saradha group and Astha International among others, CBI sources said.

"In Odisha, the CBI has registered 43 cases against 43 companies and the then MDs, then directors and others on allegations of cheating, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy. Scrutiny of more documents is being carried out for future course of action," the CBI official said.

The Supreme Court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam case to the CBI in May and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the agency. The CBI formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Joint Director Rajeev Singh to also probe the role of the SEBI and the RBI.

"Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of regulatory authorities like the SEBI, registrar of companies and officials of the RBI within whose respective jurisdictions and areas of operation the scam not only took birth but flourished unhindered," an apex court bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur had said in its order.

CBI Special Director Anil Kumar Sinha has been asked to monitor the progress in the probe and exercise administrative control under the overall supervision of the CBI director.

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