Don’t lose sight of larger conspiracy in ponzi scams, CBI told

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Monday told the CBI that it should not lose focus on the larger conspiracy in Saradha and other ponzi schemes in which millions of depositors had been duped in West Bengal and other states as the agency sought to be unburdened of a large number of cases involving smaller amounts of money.

Apparently reluctant to allow the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to leave cases involving lesser amounts with the local police, a bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice C. Nagappan asked: “We want to know if you are investigating larger conspiracy angle, you may eventually come up with the case not only against the promoters of the chit fund companies but even the regulator, some police personnel and politicians”

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“It is a case that has dimensions not only in terms of amount of money involved but the people involved in it. If it is given to CID, the court may say no offence is made out and this may result in acquittal which may affect your theory of larger conspiracy,” the court told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar as he sought to impress upon the court that the investigators were over burdened on account of manpower scarcity.

The court’s view came in the course of the hearing of the CBI’s application seeking to offload a large number of the chit fund scam cases involving amounts up to Rs.6 lakh, citing the shortage of manpower to investigate them and to take them to their logical conclusion.

The court suggested that the agency take the assistance of the West Bengal Police’s special team to investigate these cases under its supervision.

“The state police is there to assist you. We will ask West Bengal government to constitute a team and help you in the cases,” the court told Ranjit Kumar who said the CBI would leave no angle unexplored, and if at a later stage it was felt that any case initially given by it required to be investigated, it would take it up.

The court told him that it understood the enormity of the investigation undertaken by the CBI but can’t allow a situation where the larger conspiracy angle is diluted.

At the court’s reservations to modifying its order, the solicitor general then sought two weeks time to come forward with an alternate proposal to deal with the cases the CBI wants to get rid of while addressing the concerns of the court vis-a-vis the larger conspiracy.

The apex court on May 9, 2014 had handed over to the CBI the investigation into the Saradha and non-Saradha chit fund scams of about Rs.10,000 crores affecting 25 lakh depositors.

The court has fixed April 27 as the next date of hearing.