West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday absolved her government from all responsibilities of the Saradha Group controversy and blamed the Centre and the former Left Front regime in the state for 'not acting on time'.
According to Banerjee, the Centre had enough time to act on these companies, but never did enough.
“In fact, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India never informed the current state government about such companies,” she said.
The chief minister said the situation was not a crisis and dubbed the protesters Communist Party of India-Marxist cadres.
“The Centre looks after these issues and the state does not have anything to do with it. During the last 34 years, when the Left Front government was in power, these chit fund companies expanded their base,” she said.
According to her, it was only two months ago that her government got to know about these issues.
After a meeting on Monday, however, the state government has decided to form a special commission under the chairmanship of the former governor of West Bengal, Shyamal Sen.
Four additional members will also be chosen, Banerjee informed.
An investigation team was also being formed, which would be assisted by the crime investigation department to crack the case.
Offices will be set up across the city to receive complaints from agents and depositors.
On Sunday, the Left Front had accused the present state government for delaying bringing in a new law to curb such chit fund companies.
However, Banerjee said if the Centre does not reject a Bill pending before it, a new one cannot be passed.
“CPI(M) had created a Bill in 2003, which was sent to the President for approval, but the then President had recommended some rectification into that.
"In 2008, a fresh Bill was formed, but the Centre’s approval is still due.
"I request the Centre to withdraw it immediately, so that we can present the new and improved Bill. "They should also give the nod to our Bill within 24 hours,” she said. The CM claimed the draft for the new Bill was already complete and they were only waiting for the Centre’s move to withdraw the old Bill.
Banerjee refused to answer queries on party MP Kunal Ghosh, who had headed some of the media ventures of the Saradha Group.
“He was just an employee of the company and he resigned recently,” she added.
Meanwhile, a public interest suit was filed in the high court demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the group.
The petition urged the court to appoint a receiver to seize properties of chit fund companies to auction these and pay back depositors.
Protests across the state continued as agents went on ransacking Saradha's offices.
Fresh violence was reported from Haldia, where TMC has a strong presence.
Many agents have still not returned to their homes fearing backlash from angry depositors.
BUBBLE TROUBLE: Didispeak
- Sebi never informed the state on chit fund companies
- Only two months ago the state learnt about these issues
- No crisis as such
Kitty party’s over?
- A special investigation team will be formed which will get help from CID
- A public interest suit was filed in the high court demanding a CBI inquiry into Saradha scam
- The draft of a new Bill to curb chit fund companies is ready with Mamata Banerjee