Auction channels to repay Saradha depositors, orders panel

Kolkata, Jan 13: The Shyamal Sen Commission, set by West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee government to probe the Saradha group chit fund scam and recommend ways of returning money to the depositors, Monday ordered auction of the group’s three television channels so as to repay the investors.

“Three channels of the Saradha group — Tara Muzik, Tara News and Tara Punjabi — will be auctioned off to raise the money and refund the creditors,” commission chairman Sen said here.

Over 200 seized vehicles of the Group will also be auctioned off to raise the funds, he added.

Saradha Group chairman Sudipto Sen, now under arrest, attended the commission’s hearing.

“I want money to be returned to all the creditors by auctioning off our property,” he said.

The Banerjee government has created a Rs.500 crore corpus to indemnify the duped investors, and has already distributed cheques to a section of the depositors.

The beneficiaries were chosen as per recommendations of the Sen Commission. Nearly 17.39 lakh depositors have applied to thecommission for refund.

The Saradha scandal – the biggest to hit the state – came to light in April. The company closed shop across Bengal after being unable to pay back the depositors — mainly poor people who, lured by the promise of huge returns, parked their life’s savings with the firm.

As the company went bust, there was a spate of suicides by agents and investors and protests across the state.

Sen, along with some of his close associates, was arrested last April.

IANS