Kolkata: With the Trinamool Congress government stepping into the third year of its rule, it is facing its biggest challenge in the multi-crore chit fund scam which has hit lakhs of people across the state.
The bubble burst of the Saradha Group and many other small chit funds has left a trail of suicides by investors and agents and the killing of a director of one such firm with the number of deaths reaching 14 so far.
Opposition parties have been chorusing that pro-Trinamool Congress media houses were run by chit fund companies and that the alleged association of TMC MP Kunal Ghosh and a section of the party leadership with the Saradha Group had led investors into the ponzi scheme trap.
The severity of the calamity could be gauged from the over 60,000 applications submitted by agents and depositors of Saradha Group to the Shyamal Sen Commission set by the West Bengal government to probe the scam.
The opposition Congress and Left parties have demanded a CBI investigation into the scam, which has not been accepted by the state government.
Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, however, felt that the chit fund issue would not affect the party`s rural vote bank.
"The performance of this government is very good. The chit fund issue will not affect our rural votes as we have already taken action against the culprit, " Mukherjee told a news agency.
In an effort to control the damage, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced setting up of a corpus of Rs 500 crore for the duped depositors, while an anti-chit fund bill is awaiting assent from the President.
The Chief Minister has also promised action against chit funds.