Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Tuesday denied his government's involvement in the activities of chit fund groups and illegal non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).His statement came after media reports quoted Congress leader Sudip Roy Barman and published photographs of Sarkar attending the inaugural function of a park set up by Kolkata-based Rose Valley group, a chit fund organisation."I along with Congress legislator Dilip Sarkar attended the inaugural function of the Rose Valley park in July 2008. At that time, I was not aware that the Rose Valley group is a chit fund organisation," Sarkar told reporters.He added: "You know that I like children very much and the park was built for the children...."The Enforcement Directorate recently arrested Rose Valley group chief Gautam Kundu in Kolkata.Sarkar, also a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo, said Tripura's Left Front government was the first state government to ask the central government to curb the activities of chit fund companies."We would take all action against the chit fund groups and unauthorised NBFCs," Sarkar said.
"I myself and our ministers and our chief secretary had written many letters to the prime minister, union finance ministers, and Reserve Bank governor to regulate the activities of the illegal NBFCs and chit fund groups."We have taken action against them and referred 37 cases to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)," Sarkar added.The Congress, led by Barman, accused the ruling CPI-M leaders and members of being involved in the activities of chit fund groups, an accusation which the Left has refuted.On Saturday, Congress leaders met Tripura Governor P.B. Acharya and reiterated their demand for a CBI probe into illegal NBFCs and chit fund organisations in Tripura."We have urged the governor to request the central government to depute the CBI to probe all aspects of the activities of illegal NBFCs and chit fund organisations in Tripura," Barman told reporters.
"The CBI has so far taken up very few cases... We want the CBI to probe all aspects of their activities and the involvement of high profile persons," Barman added."Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, several ministers and CPI-M leaders had on a number of occasions attended the functions of chit fund organisations," he added.Unauthorised chit fund companies and NBFCs have mushroomed in the northeastern region in recent years.They lure depositors by promising exceptionally hefty rates of interest ranging from 25 percent to 30 percent. After collecting the money, they quietly wind up their operations and abscond.