Marketing agents who promoted investment schemes of the controversial Saradha group of companies among investors in various states were earning a high commission of 35 per cent till the time the alleged scam became public, says an Enforcement Directorate probe report.
ED, which has been probing the alleged financial irregularities and cheating by Saradha group of companies, has also detected that a high interest rate of 18 per cent was assured to investors if they invested in the groups' schemes for a period of 3-5 years, the probe report said.
"Out of every Rs 100 mobilised from public, an amount of Rs 35 went into payment of commission and performance bonus to the agents mobilising the investment.
"It is also seen that the interest rate assured to the investors is 18 per cent at a minimum for a period of 3-5 years," the central probe agency said in its latest investigation report in the case where it has currently pegged the money laundering figure at Rs 1983.02 crore and has identified this amount as the "proceeds of crime".
"This (rate of interest) is normally not possible given the present state of investment scenario," the probe report said.
The marketing agents too were getting high commissions as compared to the prevalent market dynamics, officials involved in the probe said.
The chit fund scam, the agency reported, was allegedly orchestrated and investors were cheated of their hard-earned wealth as the "money mobilised from the public was not invested into any fruitful investments except some investment in landed properties and from that investment it was unlikely that the investors would get their money back along with the promised interest."
The agency, after it registered a criminal case in the Saradha scam under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, has also recorded statements of various agents working for propagating the businesses of at least four of the group companies.
The probe findings, along with attachment orders of assets seized under money laundering laws, will be made a part of the prosecution case ED is expected to file next month in a court in Kolkata.
Investigations by the agency till now has found that a part of the laundered amount was allegedly "channelled into various investments through a maze of 338 accounts in various branches of different banks and a total of 224 private limited companies were floated with definite equity basis so as to conceal the collection of money from investors.
"Except a handful of these companies, all the others were registering loss in their annual profit and loss accounts," the agency has said.
ED has brought under its scanner four companies of the Saradha group in this case and they are Saradha Realty Private India Limited, Saradha Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd, Saradha Garden Resort and Hotel Pvt Ltd and Saradha Housing Pvt Ltd as they have been alleged to have mobilised money from the public, the returns of which were later allegedly duped leading to the scam.
The probe agency has attached properties worth Rs 140 crore after it registered four FIRs and recorded statements of various people involved in the case including the arrested Chairman of the group Sudipta Sen.