New Delhi: CPI(M) on Monday accused the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal 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.
"While Left Front legislators from West Bengal had met the Prime Minister in August last year, a delegation of Left MPs had met him again in December. Both delegations had submitted memoranda to safeguard the interests of small investors being looted by these chit-fund companies," CPI(M) leaders Sitaram Yechury and Basudeb Acharia told reporters here.
"Most of these companies have close relations with Trinamool Congress. While one MP is the brand ambassador of the Saradha group, another two are closely associated with it," Acharia said without naming any of them.
"Why did the Centre not take any action earlier? It is simple. Trinamool Congress was a major partner in the UPA coalition," he said.
As early as in 2003, the West Bengal assembly under the Left rule had unanimously adopted a legislation for steps to protect the interests of small investors, especially from chit fund companies, Yechury said.
"The Bill was sent for Presidential assent which did not come. In 2009, the Centre sent back the bill to the state with some modifications. The assembly incorporated the changes and sent it back to the President. But this legislation has not received the assent till date," he said.
After the Left Front demitted office, the Mamata Banerjee government "did not follow it up. What is happening now, is a fallout of all this", Yechury said.
Acharia said due to absence of stringent laws, these ponzi companies started mushrooming from 2010-11, "a year before the assembly elections".
The Saradha Group of companies, which also ran a series of TV channels and newspapers, has allegedly defrauded lakhs of investors in West Bengal, he said.
"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself launched ambulances, sponsored by this group, outside the Writer`s Building," Acharia said.
After the Left parties submitted memoranda to the Prime Minister, SEBI started taking some action only from December last year, he said.