Guwahati: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted search operations at various spots across 22 locations in relation with the Saradha chit-fund scam.
The central investigation agency raided premises of Assam MLAs Himanta Biswa Sarma and Anjan Dutta, former DGP Shankar Baruah and singer Sadananda Gogoi.
CBI sources said searches were conducted at 12 locations in Guwahati, two in Dhubri, Assam, seven in Kolkata and one place in Mumbai in connection with the scam.
Sarma was a powerful minister in Tarun Gogoi cabinet since 2001 but was dropped by the Chief Minister after he spearheaded a campaign to dislodge Gogoi. Dutta is considered a Gogoi loyalist who handled important porfolios like transport.
In Kolkata, premises of one Bapi Karim, who was a personal assistant to a minister, industrialists Sajjan and Sandhir Agarwal, a former IPS officer Deben Biswas and one Asif Khan were searched.
There are four FIRs against Saradha Group in which it is alleged that thousands of investors were allegedly duped by the company officials and their associates who swindled their deposits. Besides, there are 44 FIRs in Odisha against ponzi companies.
The Supreme Court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam probe to CBI and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the CBI team investigating the matter. CBI has formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Joint Director Rajeev Singh to also probe the role of Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and RBI.
"Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of regulatory authorities like SEBI, Registrar of Companies and officials of 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.
The search and investigation operations have meandered across several states in the case.
Earlier on Monday the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had questioned Trinamool Congress MP Ahmed Hassan Imran in connection with its money laundering probe in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case.
Imran, a Rajya Sabha MP, reached the agency`s office in Salt Lake here and will be questioned about his connections with the defunct group owned by jailed Saradha Chairman Sudipta Sen.
Sources said the ED wants to grill Imran as he was the Executive Editor of a Bengali publication `Kalam` which was owned by Sen but it was later sold to another business group.
ED sleuths want to know details of Imran`s financial income and other interests while working for the publication, the sources said.
The agency is likely to confront Imran with some documents it has seized sometime back in this case.
The ED has earlier quizzed TMC MP Mithun Chakraborty and Kunal Ghosh and state Textile minister Shyamapada Mukherjee in this case.
A criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been registered by the agency last year to probe the ponzi scam that came to light last year after thousands of investors alleged they were duped of their hard earned money by the schemes run by Saradha group.
With Agency Inputs