CBI raids Trinamool MP Tapas Paul’s home, 42 Rose Valley locations
Kolkata/Agartala: The CBI today raided the Kolkata residence of Trinamool Congress actor-MP Tapas Paul and 42 other locations of the Rose Valley Group across India in connection with a multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam.
Paul, who represents Krishnanagar in the Lok Sabha, was a former director of the group which has been under the scanner of various central agencies, including market regulator SEBI, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The raids were conducted in 27 locations of the Rose Valley in West Bengal, seven in Tripura and one location each in Odisha, Assam, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
“Apart from offices, searches are being conducted at the residential premises of Rose Valley Group chairman Gautam Kundu, managing director Shibamoy Dutta and then directors of the group, including Abir Kundu, Ramlal Goswami, Ashok Kumar Saha and present Lok Sabha MP Tapas Paul,” said an official of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A team of CBI sleuths searched Paul’s residence for several hours.
Kundu, who was grilled by the ED on February 3, had said Paul was a director of the group’s films division.
Special CBI teams seized many official documents in Tripura during the raids.
A top police officer said on condition of anonymity that the CBI was scrutinising official documents of the company. “They interrogated 12 employees of Rose Valley Group.”
In Kolkata, Shibamoy Dutta said the company would cooperate with the CBI, but assured investors “there is nothing wrong”.
“At a time when some companies have not been able to retain people’s faith and have closed down, we have managed to keep open all our offices and function normally,” Dutta said.
The corporate affairs ministry in 2013 had named Rose Valley as one of the 73 companies involved in ponzi schemes in Bengal.
Having cast its net across Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra among others, the company is alleged to have raised close to Rs.15,000 crore.
Found guilty of running “collective investment scheme” without necessary approvals, the SEBI in June 2014 had ordered the company to refund the money to the investors and barred it from accessing the securities market.
The SEBI had also warned the company of attachment and recovery proceedings if it failed to refund the money.
While the ED had attached 2,631 bank accounts of the group involving Rs.295 crore in November 2014, its properties were confiscated in Odisha following a court order on February 25.
Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley in December last year had told the Rajya Sabha that the Rose Valley Group of companies had collected an estimated Rs.15,000 crore from investors.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha last month, had said the Saradha Group and the Rose Valley raised Rs.12,740 crore illegally.
According to Sinha, investigations revealed that the Rose Valley Group raised as much as Rs.10,281 crore from investors while Saradha firms had mobilised Rs.2,459 crore.
The Rose Valley Group, which came into focus following the busting of the Saradha Group of companies, was also one of the sponsors of Indian Premier League city franchise Kolkata Knight Riders.