In a startling series of disclosures in the Saradha Realty case, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has disclosed that the company was under investigation since 2010, contradicting the claim of the state government.
The company was under the investigation of Sebi since April 23, 2010, when the director, Economic Offences Investigation Cell of the Government of West Bengal had sent a formal complaint. Over the weekend, state chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said she was unaware that Saradha was under any investigation.
The letter from the state government office informed Sebi that Saradha Realty India Ltd "is collecting contributions of monies from the public particularly in rural areas of the state of West Bengal". The regulator revealed the details on Tuesday in its order banning Saradha chief Sudipta Sen from accessing the capital markets till the money realised so far is refunded to the investors. In the order issued by Sebi whole-time member Rajiv Agarwal, the regulator has said unless the money is refunded and the details approved by it West Bengal government will be approached to register cases against Saradha Realty India and its directors (which includes Sen) for apparent offences of fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds.
Despite Sebi's instructions, Sen has repeatedly sent cartons of papers that the regulator noted was "a strategy to avoid submitting the specific information". In another communication to Sebi, Sen also claimed his company is unable to refund money to investors since its data is stored in servers at Boston, USA, and "is under the control of staff members and brokers".
Sen made the surprising claim earlier this month in a letter denying the accusation that it is running a collective investment scheme without any permission. Instead the company has contended "it is unable to locate the actual investors and identify the money due to the acts of unscrupulous staff members and brokers" who have taken control of the server at Boston.
The company repeatedly denied it ran an investment scheme claiming instead that it was realty firm. Sebi member Agarwal's order shows the company was unable to prove this at all and has passed the order accordingly.
Saradha Realty was under investigation since April 23, 2010, when the director, Economic Offences Investigation Cell of West Bengal had sent a complaint
Recently, state chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said she was unaware that Saradha was under any investigation
ENS Economic Bureau : New Delhi, Wed Apr 24 2013, 02:15 hrs