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The Directorate of Economic Offences (DEO), the investigation wing of the West Bengal finance department, has claimed to have unearthed a Ponzi racket in the state involving a financial embezzlement of around Rs 2,000 crore.

A state financial official said that from Sunday afternoon till late night, the sleuths of the DEO conducted a marathon raid and search operations at the residence of a Kolkata- based businessman, Amarnath Shroff at Harish Mukherjee Road in south Kolkata.

"Another Kolkata-based businessman, Shanti Surana was arrested recently from his residence at Ballygunge also in south Kolkata. Initially, it was perceived that Surana was the one and only brain behind the Ponzi racket. However, during interrogation he admitted that he had a partner in the business, named Amarnath Shroff. Accordingly, raid and search operations were conducted at his residence," the official said.

It is learnt, Shroff, also a real estate promoter along with Surana had allured a number of persons to invest in real estate promotional schemes against promises of hefty returns. State finance department sources said that the target of the duo were mainly the moneyed aged persons with their children staying away from them. "In this process they raised about Rs 25 lakhs to Rs 3 crore on an average. We have traced one such individual who invested over Rs 10 crore in this Ponzi business. The total funds accumulated by the duo was to the tune of around Rs 2,000 crore," a state finance department official.

It is learnt that in the marathon raid and search operations from Sunday afternoon till late night, the DEO officials seized several incriminating documents related to the Ponzi business. "Our investigating officials suspect that some more people might be involved in this menace and they are trying to track them through examination of the documents," the state finance department official said.

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