Bengal cabinet approves inquiry into chit fund mess

West Bengal cabinet gave its approval to the setting up of a high-level inquiry into the closure of chit fund company Saradha Group.

Kolkata: West Bengal cabinet today gave its approval to the setting up of a high-level inquiry into the closure of chit fund company Saradha Group which has left thousands of investors in the lurch, with a senior minister blaming the previous Left Front government for the mess.

"The lack of will on the part of the previous Left Front government to deal with the illegal chit funds has led to such a situation," Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Chief Minister had yesterday announced a double-pronged probe by a special investigation team under the Director General of Police and an inquiry commission under Justice (retd) Shyamal Sen.

Chatterjee said that Sen would be assisted by three or four members in the panel and the official notification for setting up the commission would be made as soon as possible and if possible today or tomorrow itself.

"They will look into every aspects in the interest of the investors. The investors can approach the commission with their complaints," he said.
Chatterjee said that Besides Saradha, the activities of similar organisations and companies would also be brought under the purview of the commission.

"The complainants (the investors) can file their complaints and the commission would take appropriate steps," he said.

He said the state government wanted to bring a strong law to protect the investors and bring them under a "safety net".

The Chief Minister had also said yesterday that a draft for promulgating an Ordinance to give more teeth for regulation of operations of chit fund companies was ready.

Expressing concern over the Saradha episode, the Trinamool supremo had said, "If the bill forwarded by the Left Front government to the Centre in 2009, is returned within 24 hours, our government will immediately promulgate the ordinance to that effect."

The CPI(M) on its part accused the TMC government of supporting chit fund companies, saying the Left parties had been warning the Centre for the past few years that these firms were "looting" poor people in the state.