Chit fund scam: New bill on protecting investor interests passed in WB House
Kolkata: The West Bengal Assembly on Tuesday passed a new bill formulated by the Trinamool Congress government for protection of investors in chit fund companies, amidst a walkout by the Opposition Congress.
Congress members trooped out when an amendment to the new West Bengal Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Bill, 2013, was not accepted by state finance minister Amit Mitra who tabled it at a two-day special session of the Assembly.
It was a matter of shame for the people of the state that a similar bill brought by the previous Left Front government in 2003 was faulty and incomplete and did not get Presidential assent, Mitra said.
The previous LF government did not withdraw the bill when it was returned in 2006, but chose to introduce a new legislation on the similar subject in 2008, which was subsequently passed in the Assembly, he said.
This legislation was also not enacted, he said adding, it was the duty of the present government to introduce a stringent bill to deal with such financial frauds for which, the 2009 bill had been withdrawn.
The new bill is more serious and stringent in nature, Mitra said.
Opposition leader Suryakanta Mishra said there is mention of a competent authority in the bill, but it is not clear about that individual`s identity.
Since the Saradha scam affected other states as well, CBI should investigate it, he said.
Mishra criticised the government for not accepting some amendments to the bill.
Earlier, the House passed a resolution to withdraw the West Bengal Protection of Investors in Financial Establishments Bill 2009, passed by the Left Front government.
It was passed after a division, which was sought by the Opposition.
Asking whether the CPI(M) was funded by the Saradha Group, Mitra displayed its mouthpiece `Ganashakti` in the house alleging that while the party was making a hue and cry, the paper had received front page advertisements from various companies of the of the group like `Saradah city, Baruipur`, `Saradha Cement` and `Saradah Global Automobiles`.
Mitra said that there were similar Saradha advertisements in `Dial`, a book on important telephone numbers published by the party.
He also showed a newspaper photograph of a CPI(M) leader wearing a hat who was seen with the Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen cutting the ribbon at a company programme.
Countering the charge of inaction by the previous LF government, the Leader of the Opposition said that after the Sanchayini chit fund bust during its tenure, over 100 persons were arrested and action was taken against 56 companies.
Congress member Manas Bhuniya said that his party supported the bill since out of the nine crore population in the state, seven crore were affected and demanded that the scam be investigated by the CBI.
The new bill provided for confiscation of property of the financial establishment or the promoter, partner, director, manager, member, employee or any other person responsible for its business affairs.
The bill also also empowered entry of premises and inspection of documents.
According to the bill, the competent authority shall, after making an assessment of the deposit liabilities, apply before the designated court from time to time seeking permission for making payment to depositors from out of the money realised.
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