Kolkata, Aug 27 IANS | 4 months ago

The CBI Wednesday grilled Kolkata-based entrepreneur Santanu Ghosh, also the chairman of the now-defunct Xenitis Group, and another businessman Rajesh Bajaj, based in Assam, in connection with the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam.

Ghosh, whose business ventures included computer and computer components manufacturing and automobile business, is said to have taken a huge loan from the Saradha group, but did not return the money.

He reached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office at the Central Government Office Complex in Salt Lake area at 11.30 a.m. after receiving the summons.

Ghosh was earlier arrested June 24 by the Enforcement Directorate, which is also probing the scandal. He got conditional bail two days back as the agency was yet to submit a chargesheet.

He was nabbed by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Guwahati-based businessman Bajaj, who too faced CBI grilling, said the government should have arrested the chit fund masterminds four-five years back.

Scam kingpin and Saradha promoter Sudipta Sen in his tell-all letter to the CBI April last year alleged that former union minister Matang Sinh had taken Rs.28 crore from him promising to hand over 50 percent of the shares in Bengali television channel NE Bangla.

However, Sen claimed he neither got the shares nor was the money returned.

But speaking to the media outside the CBI headquarters, Bajaj said the cheque has been handed over to the Bidhan Nagar police Commissionerate, which earlier probed the scam.

Meanwhile, another Kolkata businessman, Sandhir Agarwal - arrested for his alleged complicity in the scam - was sent to CBI custody till Sep 1.

Agarwal, accused by Sen of extorting money from him, was arrested Saturday by the CBI following several hours of grilling.

Sen had alleged that Ghosh forced him to buy his automobile company with "huge liabilities".

The letter also accused East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar and his accomplices including Agarwal, of extorting over Rs.40 crore from him, to cover up a probe then being conducted by market regulator SEBI.

Sarkar is also under arrest.

The Saradha scam came to light in April 2013 after the group downed shutters without repaying lakhs of investors, who had parked their hard earned money in the group companies, lured by the promise of astronomically high returns.

(Posted on 28-08-2014)

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