KOLKATA: Arindam Das, or Bumba, as he is popularly known as in Baruipur, amassed so much wealth as a Saradha agent that he invested around Rs 2 crore in different properties across South 24-Parganas.
CBI officials said Bumba, who owned a centrally AC mansion, a BMW and a Mercedes, had invested Rs 26 lakh in a plot at Surajpur and committed Rs 26 lakh for an office space at Phultala. The office was to be built with all the grandeur “fitting his status”, the owner of the land told CBI officers. Though SIT has identified the site, it had taken little step to recover the money. CBI officials are also looking into allegations that he was interested in buying a lodge for which he paid Rs 45 lakh.
But it is Bumba’s investment in a theatre at Baruipur that has raised eyebrows. Residents of the area said the hall, Krishna, made losses and was on the verge of shutting down. “We want to know why he committed over Rs 50 lakh for this hall. We are probing if Saradha boss Sudipta Sen was aware of the investment,” said an officer.
Bumba, responsible for mobilizing deposits from South 24-Parganas and Burdwan, would flaunt his properties in Baruipur, apparently to “inspire field agents with his rags-to-riches story”. “He would donate generously for religious ceremonies and cultural programmes,” said an investigator. “In four years, he became a popular figure in Baruipur, lived in a condominium and had flashy vehicles.”
Saradha plots in Bishnupur, which were attached by the ED, have also attracted the CBI’s attention. “As a mediator for land deals, Bumba earned huge cuts,” said a CBI official. “Sen never told us much about his initial days and how he assumed control of the Saradha group. We have got some leads from Bumba and that will help us prepare the final chargesheet.”
The CBI is also looking into Bumba’s Tripura connection. “He hid in Belonia in south Tripura which is also the hometown of several Tripura political bigwigs, whose links with a couple of Ponzi scams have emerged. We believe he had swindled funds from Saradha investors in Tripura too,” a source said.