Ask CBI to probe chit fund companies, Tripura to PM Modi

Tripura has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the CBI to probe the activities of chit fund companies and unauthorised collection of funds in the northeastern state, a minister said here on Wednesday.

IANS| Last Updated: Dec 17, 2014, 16:00 PM IST

Agartala: Tripura has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the CBI to probe the activities of chit fund companies and unauthorised collection of funds in the northeastern state, a minister said here on Wednesday.

"The Tripura government has referred 37 cases to the department of personnel and training of the central government to be probed by the CBI, but the agency has taken up only five cases," Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said in a letter to Modi.

"A CBI probe into all the 37 cases is necessary as these cases involve chit fund companies having operations in many states," said Sarkar in the letter, copies of which were released to the media here by Revenue Minister Badal Choudhury.

Choudhury said Tripura's Left Front government is the first state government in India to ask the CBI to investigate the illegal activities of the unauthorised Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) or the chit fund companies.

"During the meeting of state finance ministers, convened by the then central finance minister in New Delhi in 2002, we demanded enactment of a uniform law to deal with these illegal NBFCs and chit fund companies," said Choudhury, who earlier held the finance portfolio.

He said he had met the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) governors twice to curb the illegitimate activities of illegal NBFCs and chit fund companies.

"Our state government has formed an economic offence wing under the district police chiefs in all the eight districts to take appropriate action against illegal NBFCs and chit fund companies," the minister said.

He said the Assam and Odisha governments had also asked for the CBI to probe the activities of the chit funds in their states after Tripura's request.

Choudhury, however, said the central government did not respond positively to the state government's request for enacting a comprehensive central legislation to regulate unauthorised chit funds. Therefore, the Tripura government got passed a law in 2011 to deal with these organisations, he said.

Unauthorised chit fund companies and NBFCs have mushroomed in the northeastern region in recent years. They lure depositors by promising exceptionally high rates of interest ranging from 25 percent to 30 percent. After collecting the money, they quietly shut down their operations and vanish.

The NBFCs or the chit fund companies, which are not recognised by the Reserve Bank of India, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority or the Securities and Exchange Board of India, cannot conduct any monetary business or take deposits from people.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has announced it would meet Prime Minister Modi to request him to direct the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to probe the fraudulent activities of chit fund companies in Tripura.

"The Tripura government is not taking effective steps against illegal chit fund companies and NBFCs which have been collecting crores of rupees from the market," Opposition leader Sudip Roy Barman told reporters.

He also accused Sarkar of having attended many programmes organised by chit fund companies in the state.