Saradha scam: accused say bribes paid to SEBI official

January 27, 2015 02:59 am | Updated November 16, 2021 06:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Some of the accused in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, in their disclosures to the Enforcement Directorate, have levelled bribery allegations against an official of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The ED has been told by the accused that the official, then holding a senior position, was paid bribes regularly to ensure smooth conduct of operations of the Saradha Group companies that were allegedly involved in the scam.

Following Supreme Court observations last year, the Central Bureau of Investigation has also initiated investigations into the matter. “Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of SEBI, Registrar of Companies and officials of the RBI within whose respective jurisdictions and areas of operation the scam not only took birth but flourished unhindered,” said a Supreme Court Bench.

The CBI has also questioned several SEBI officials in view of allegations that the regulating body initiated action against Saradha Realty swiftly after receipt of complaints regarding the company’s alleged illegal activities.

A few days ago, the agency also sought clarifications from a SEBI member in connection with the probe conducted into the complaints and action taken by the body.

The probing agencies have found that the Saradha Group of companies collected funds of Rs.2,459 crore from lakhs of investors spread across 14 States, including West Bengal, Assam and Odisha, between 2008 and 2013.

Of the collected funds, Rs.1,983 crore — apart from the interest earned — remained outstanding and has, therefore, been marked as proceeds of crime committed by the accused persons for attachment of their properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED has already attached properties worth about Rs.500 crore.

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