The agitation against fraudulent deposit-taking companies continued to spread in the State with the police intervening in some places to prevent the situation spinning out of control. There were instances of agents heckling investors.
Demanding that their money be returned, a group of investors protested outside one of the companies at Lake Town near the city on Saturday. At Salt Lake nearby, another company faced the ire of anguished investors who sought premature withdrawal. Both these companies feature in the list of such outfits against whom complaints have been received by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
Investors seized the office of another obscure company which had also raised deposits at Durgapur in the State’s Bardhaman district, demanding their money be returned. The police had to intervene to bring the situation under control and the agitating depositors registered a complaint against the company.
Since Thursday, at least five other offices of deposit-seeking firms were sealed here following complaints of cheating and criminal intimidation against them.
According to the MCA, of the 87 companies running Ponzi or multi-level-marketing firms against whom complaints has been received, 73 were in West Bengal.
Worried about the fate of their schemes, the companies have launched a media campaign trying to assure investors of their ‘good intentions and their track record’. Referring to these advertisements, senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Gautam Deb said the police should act against these companies on the basis of the declarations being made in ads.
“Will these companies be probed only after they go bust and turn defaulters,” Mr. Deb, also a central committee member of the CPI(M) said.
The CPI(M) expelled Ganesh De, the confidential assistant of former State Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, also a party member. The police had questioned him earlier this week for his alleged links with the Saradha Group.
Party sources said Mr. De has been expelled for his personal links with the fraudulent company, of which the party had no knowledge.
Rally by Congress
The State leadership of the Congress brought out a rally here on Saturday demanding that an inquiry by the CBI be carried out to probe the Saradha scam. Accusing the State government of shielding the Trinamool Congress leaders who have close links with the scam-tainted company, State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said the State government will continue to do so as long as it is investigating the matter.