Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saradha mess is not a 'chit fund' scam

Basic Knowledge About Chit Fund Business

"Chit" means a transaction ( whether called chit fund, chit, kuri or by any other name), by which the foreman enters into an agreement with a number of subscribers that everyone of them shall subscribe a certain sum for a certain period and each subscriber in his turn as determined by lot or by auction, shall be entitled to a prized amount.

Example: 25 subscribers agree to subscribe an amount of Rs.4,000/- for 25 months i.e. for a total chit value of Rs.1,00,000/-, each subscriber will get his chit amount in his turn as determined by draw of lot or by auction. During auction all non-prized subscribers bid by allowing percentage of subscription to be forgone. The highest bidder i.e. who allows maximum percentage to subscribers is given the chit amount. The amount, foregone by the subscriber is distributed as dividend amongst all the subscribers in every draw, after deducting 5% commission/remuneration to be paid to the foreman of the company. Maximum bid is normally between 20% to 40% and the duration of chit is normally between 12 months to 50 months. In case there are more than one highest bidder in an auction, then draw of lots is made and chit amount given to the successful subscriber.

These (25) subscribers constitute a ‘Chit Group’ and the Chit fund company can run many such groups. For each group approval of bye-laws and commencement certificate from the office of the Registrar, Chit Funds, is must. The share of a subscriber in a chit is also known as ticket.

Saradha mess is not a 'chit fund' scam :
Saradha Realty is being portrayed as a chit fund by some functionaries in West Bengal. Sections of the local media have even gone as far as naming it "Saradha Chit Fund".
This is where Sherlock Holmes steps in. In "Silver Blaze", Holmes took note of a curious incident of a "dog that did nothing in the night time". In Saradha Realty, there is an equally curious question to be noted - if a chit fund must have a chit and if Saradha Realty is a chit fund then where is the chit?
There have been thousands of financial transactions all right, with thousands of people of small means. But that alone does not give Saradha Realty the character of a chit fund. Section 11 (1) of the Chit Funds Act expressly requires a person to use the words "chit fund", "chitty" or "kuri" in the name, if he has to carry on the chit fund business.
But the words "chit funds" are not mentioned anywhere on Saradha's website, nor was the company registered as a chit fund. So the natural question to ask is: why is Saradha Realty being portrayed as a chit fund?
Let us attempt to define Saradha Realty. This is necessary for the determination of the correct laws and sections for charging the entity and its promoters and associates.
Otherwise, one could unwittingly (or may be deliberately) give the accused legally valid wings to fly by charging the company under the wrong law.
This is the stage to invoke Russell. As he once correctly observed, "Everything is vague to a degree you do not realise till you have tried to make it precise".
When we try to define Saradha Realty, we are confronted with a penumbra of uncertainty surrounding the situations that show themselves "capable of yielding un-plausible conclusions". Let us examine this statement more carefully.
Saradha's tacky website makes for an interesting read. It is one more group in India that sees itself as "the paribar" (family) and declares itself as a "modern day Kalpataru".
The website lists the group's diversified activities as construction, realty, exports, tours and travel, hotels and resorts, agro industries, education, financial management services, printing and publication, print and electronic media and shopping malls.
Saradha Realty is described as a "professionally managed company established in 2008 under the Company's Act 1956 at Kolkata", for "developing the available land resource and to facilitate agriculture and alike activities and thus render services to Indian citizens by way of scientific farming and cultivation". That by no means is a chit fund activity, under the Chit Funds Act, 1982.
So if Saradha Realty is not a chit fund, will making a brouhaha about chit funds help in taking action against Saradha?
On April 23, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) passed an order against the company and its promoters. The order describes Saradha Realty's modus operandus, which confirms that it was indeed running an unregistered collective investment scheme (CIS).
Sebi, besides initiating prosecution proceedings, directed Saradha Realty to wind up the existing CIS and gave it three months to refund the money.
Sebi said it would be referring the matter to the state government and the local police to register civil/criminal cases against the company and its directors and managers for apparent offences of fraud and cheating. Sebi will also be writing to the ministry of corporate affairs to initiate the winding up of Saradha Realty.
It is logical to conclude that, quintessentially, Saradha Realty was a well-crafted Ponzi scheme, camouflaged as a CIS that was illegal and unauthorised. Such schemes can flourish for some time with aplomb - in this case for five years - freely raising money in an unauthorised manner. Then the cycle broke, as is wont in such cases resulting in an inevitable cataclysm.
It remains to be seen how the mess is sorted out, for it should have an impact on similar schemes operating in other states, too. Effective time-bound resolution can only occur when the state authorities and the regulatory bodies concerned act in a concerted manner, but meaningful actions must be rational and curative, preventive and prophylactic.
As a curative measure, doling out funds from the state coffers, may bring some succour to the thousands of people who lost their money, provided it can be ensured that the money reaches the right people. In the absence of reliable records of the names and addresses of the contributors, this will require humongous effort and time.
Otherwise, a populist announcement may turn sour in no time. The state government must also resolve to replenish the state coffers with the sale of Saradha Realty's assets.
As of now, where the Saradha money came from and where it went is a matter of juicy speculation. Its recovery will involve, first, an assessment of the ownership of the assets of Saradha Realty and their valuation valid in the eyes of the law. This could well be an unending nightmare.
As a preventive measure, the state authorities must ruthlessly go after all unauthorised and illegal money-raising schemes by any entity, however well known. Being well known is no assurance to the legitimacy of the entity's operations. The promoters of Saradha Realty, too, were well known.
They and those who abetted them must be punished. In doing so, it is important that the state government assists and stands by the regulatory authorities. As in a burglary, the primary focus should be on punishing the burglar and recovering the assets, instead of hanging the security guard.
The third set of actions will be prophylactic, designed to caution people against investing in unauthorised schemes and to create awareness about the precautions that have to be taken before investing.
This has to be done at periodic intervals like the polio vaccine campaign. This, in fact, may turn out to be the most effective step by the West Bengal government, rather than making a law when there was nothing seriously lacking with the existing laws except its bad enforcement. Hurried measures taken in angst and anger are usually unfocussed.

*The writer is a former Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Board of India

Sunday, February 3, 2013


‎At a time when the credibility of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), vis a vis its threat of final battle for Gorkhaland, is questioned its disillusioned supporters in Terai and Dooars want the leaders to pass the litmus test before they expect them to join their bandwagon.

GJM’s movement for separate state of Gorkhaland that concluded with the signing of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Accord on July 18, 2011, gained momentum only after it was spread in Terai of Darjeeling district and the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district.

Unlike the first phase of Gorkhaland movement under the leadership of Subash Ghisingh that, ended after the formation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in August 1988, more people in Terai Dooars joined the movement led by Bimal Gurung. Five people, including four GJM supporters, died during the movement in the Dooars three of them in police firing and two in political clash between the pro and anti Gorkhaland supporters.

Properties of Gorkhaland supporters in Terai and Dooars were ransacked and houses were set on fire. Ethnic clashes had become regular features thus disturbing peaceful co-existence among various communities. Piles of police cases are pending against the GJM leaders and supporters in the region.

However, the GJM’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Justice (retd.) Shyamal Sen Committee to add only five of the 398 mouzas of Terai and the Dooars as demanded by the GJM in the GTA came crushing for the party supporters in Terai and the Dooars.

Though the GJM is insisting that the party doesn’t exclude Terai and the Dooars in its second round of movement, its supporters in the region are skeptical.“The supporters of the GJM in the Dooars have already suffered lots and are in no mood to be fooled once again.” A former president of GJM Dooars committee said, who left the party after some differences with the leaders in the hills.

“Demoralised GJM supporters in Dooars need a concrete assurance from the hill leaders if they want them to support the movement,” Rohit Thapa a senior GJM leader in the Dooars said.

SN Pradhan a member of GJM’s study forum opined that lots depend on the GJM’s strategy and plan. Though Dooars people are feeling alienated after the GTA was formed, the supporters of Dooars will back the ‘final’ battle for Gorkhaland if the leaders show their commitments, Pradhan said.

However, some former GJM leaders who left the party after it signed the GTA Accord opined that the hill leaders just want to make the Dooars people scapegoats to bring home their bargaining power. Kamal Pakhrin a former GJM leader said that the Nepalise/gorkhas of Dooars have become skeptical to join the movement led by untrustworthy leaders. In Terai also the mood is somber.

“This time it is very hard to get spontaneous support from the Nepalise of Terai as they are feeling cheated while hill leaders are busy enjoying the power,” a senior GJM leader from Siliguri said.

Most of the Terai supporters believe that even if the GJM starts its Gorkhaland movement, it would hardly find takers in the plains. They also said that the GJM’s threat is just aimed for its own political survival.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bidhan had blamed Deepa Dasmunshi for his brother’s disappearance

A 20-year-old case has returned to haunt Congress MP Deepa Dasmunsi. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday ordered the resumption of a CID probe into the disappearance of Biman Bhattacharjee, a well-known theatre artiste and musician. His family blames Dasmunsi, then Deepa Ghosh, for his disappearance.

Biman, a member of the theatre group Bohurupee, went missing on June 14, 1992, from Beniatola Lane in central Kolkata. His elder brother Bidhan Bhattacharjee and NGO All India Legal Aid Forum had approached Mamata, demanding that the case be reopened.

In a written complaint, Bidhan had blamed Deepa for his brother’s disappearance. He had stated that Biman and Deepa lived together for three years at her house on Panditya Road in south Kolkata, and that Biman was abducted with prior planning and later murdered. An FIR was lodged with the Gariahat police station and Deepa was questioned by the police.

The Raiganj MP and wife of former Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Deepa said that while Biman was known to her and used to visit her house, “there was no relationship with him”. “Biman was a musician involved with theatre. His home was located outside Kolkata.

At that time a lot of friends from the world of culture used to visit our house. Often they stayed in my guestroom on the ground floor. Biman too stayed in the guestroom for three months,” she told The Indian Express.

Questioning the timing of the probe, Deepa added: “Why was everyone silent on his disappearance for so long? Now his family is saying a lot of things. Are they really concerned about Biman? I don’t know about the All India Legal Aid Forum. The matter has been highlighted after a long time with political motive in mind.”

According to Bidhan, both Biman and Deepa were involved with theatre and became close in the 1980s. At that time, she regularly visited their home at Konnagar. Later, they allegedly started to stay together at Panditiya Road at Deepa’s residence. While Biman was 29 years old at the time, she was 31, Bidhan said. Gradually, Bidhan claimed, the relationship soured, taking a turn for the worse in 1992 after Deepa and Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi became close.

On the day of his disappearance — June 14, 1992 — Biman was at a play rehearsal at Beniatola Lane when he had an altercation with Deepa, Bidhan said. He alleged that some youths were waiting outside the premises in a car, and that Biman was abducted from there.

While they had approached former chief ministers Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee too, Bidhan said the police had failed to locate Biman and put the case on the backburner. General secretary of the All India Legal Aid Forum Joydeep Mukherjee said investigations will hopefully resolve the mystery.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Minister in the cabinet from Alipurduar district

Erstwhile government was not concerned about dooars region and they have not addressed the important issues of dooars for its economic imbalances. It is most underdeveloped region in road connectivity, education and health infrastructure development. After formation of Alipurduar district people of dooars (mostly tribal people) have joined hands with Shri Anil Adhikary who is lonely MLA of TMC from the Alipurduar district. Shri Adhikari has shown his concern about the root causes of problems of the tribal people. He always said people who had formed and joined any organisation after being frustrated at the Left Front government’s neglect of the Dooars should join hands with Trinamul Congress for the sake of development of the region under our beloved leader Mamata Banerjee’s rule.  Now expectation of the tribal & other communities of the Alipurduar district are very high. They want TMC party should take a lenient view for providing berth to their beloved leader Anil Adhikary, MLAs in the state cabinet. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Child trafficking thriving in tea gardens of Dooars

With a number of tea gardens in Jalpaiguri district closed or reported to be sick, hundreds of children whose parents worked there, are being trafficked each year, a report said.

Highlighting the vulnerability of children living near the defunct tea gardens of Dooars, the joint study was done by UNICEF, Save the Children and Burdwan University. The report says it has been estimated that 3500 children migrated from 12 tea gardens in 2010.

"Children of Adivasi, poor and large families especially girls are prime targets," the report said.

"Many never return and nearly 8 to 10 children out of every 100 migrating every year go missing and the same number of children per tea garden is being trafficked every year," it said. Delhi remains the most preferred destination followed by Kerala, Sikkim, Punjab, Bangalore and Bhutan.

"Poverty was ranked as the number one contributing factor, as labourers are left to fend for themselves by tea garden owners who abandon their estates without paying salary/wages, provident fund and gratuity to them," the report said. It was followed by unemployment, poor wages, large family, illiteracy and promise of a better life.

Save the Children's state programme manager Jatin Mondar said poverty is just one of the many contributing factors in child trafficking but not the root cause of the problem.

"The level of poverty among the labourers in tea gardens is the result of deep rooted and long-term non-development in these areas," he said. Lack of educational and health infrastructure have also been affecting the children, the report observed. Only five out of 12 gardens have secondary schools while only two have higher secondary schools. Only four out of 12 tea gardens have arranged transportation but the students have to pay for this.

Malnutrition, lung infection, chest pain, headache and water borne diseases are frequent among children due to poor diet, contaminated drinking water and unhygienic conditions, the report said.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Creation of Separate Alipurduar District

It is good news to the people of Alipurduar Sub-division that in an All-party meeting convened by the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Mamata Bannerji, on 3rd August 2011, proposal for bifurcating of Jalpaiguri District and creating of a new District called Alipurduar, along with proposal for rechristening the name of the State, was discussed. It is hoped that sooner or later, Alipurduar is going to emerge as a separate District.

Historical Background:

The creation of Alipurduar Sub-division was not smooth. A lengthy controversy took place between J.C. Haughton, the then Commissioner of Cooch Behar Division and Colonel E.A. Rowlatt, respecting the suitability of Alipurduar as a Sub-divisional Station. Colonel Rowlatt wanted that Alipurduar should be made a Sub-division instead of Falakata as recommended by Haughton. At length, Falakata was selected as a Sub-division. The origin of the name of Alipurduar was first reported by D.H.E. Sunder, the then Settlement Officer, in his Settlement Report of the Western Duars, Jalpaiguri District in 1896 in which he reported that Alipurduar was named after the late Colonel Hedayet Ali. Sunder's proposition appears to be unfounded, considering the fact that when Captain Hedayet Ali took the command of Cooch Behar Troops in June 1864, the name Alipur had already existed.

After the conclusion of Anglo-Bhutan War of 1864-65 by a Treaty of Sinchula signed on 12th November 1865, the Western Duars tracts were taken over from the Bhutan Government by the British Government. The British Government then proposed to create a new District called Jalpaiguri and by a Notification dated, Fort William, the 8th December 1868, the name Western Duars was ceased and its Sub-division called Buxa was abolished. Thereupon, a new District called Jalpaiguri was formed on 1st January 1869 with two Sub-divisions - one the Sudder Sub-division with Head-Quarters at Jalpaiguri and the other the Falakata Sub-division with Head-Quarters at Falakata. However, at length, in 1876 the Sub-divisional Station of Falakata was closed and the Sub-divisional Station was transferred to Alipurduar. Since then Alipurduar remained as a Sub-division till this day.


Presently, the area of Jalpaiguri District is 6,277 After remaining as a District for about 142 years, Jalpaiguri is at last going to be divided into two Districts for administrative conveniences. This is certainly not only a noble step but also an historic step on the part of the Hon'ble Chief Minister of West Bengal. We rejoice in her practical concern for overall development of the people in general and in particular for her concern for the people of Alipurduar Sub-Division.

Shri Deba Prasad Roy, a Congress MLA from Alipurduar Assembly Constituency, supported the demand of the creation of Alipurduar District and assured the people that he would voice for the same in the Assembly. His contribution towards the fulfillment of the aspirations of the people is no doubt very great and highly appreciable.

(Compiled & circulated by: N.BURMAN, President, Dooars Terai Nagarik Manch)
                                                    Source : H.Mech

Thursday, August 2, 2012


We are introducing us an apex body of various social organization and citizen forums. We are fighting for the cause of social unrest and ethnic problems since its inception. We believe in communal harmony and a tension free society. We are also taking selective approach for pursuing the developmental works in and around dooars & terrain area in the immediate future.

Raise your voice:

Government must address to important issues of Dooars for its extreme economic imbalances hence special package should given for Dooars region. It is the most underdeveloped region in road connectivity, education and health infrastructure development. The Dooars region received till now no substantial development.

Government must consider to form Dooars Development Authority immediately and it should be given a statutory status with a corpus of Rs 1000 crores from Plan allocation for flood management and infrastructure development of Dooars. Dooars would be a prosperous zone of State of West Bengal if it provides enough financial support from the State.



(Bodo Peoples Forum, All India Mahali Association,Rava Development Council, Buxa Fort Dukpa Welfare Society, Dooar Terai Nagarik Manch, Toto Development Council….etc.)