The current West Bengal government versus CBI crisis has its roots in the infamous Saradha Pozi scam which was being investigated by Kolkatta Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who is being sought by the central investigation agency.
Here is the timeline that details Saradha Ponzi scheme - one of the country's biggest illegal financial frauds:
1. Saradha Group which was founded by Sudipto Sen in 2006 was a consortium of various companies which promised huge profits and returns in return of their investments and even recruited agents to hoodwink commoners by paying them a part of the profits.
2. The Saradha Group, in order to give legitimacy to the illegal financial transactions, invested in multiple companies in media, automobile, real estate, infrastructure and finance sectors.
3. During the early years of operations, Saradha Group roped in famous politicians and other heavyweights based in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Tripura, and paid them huge dividends. Former MP Kunal Ghosh headed the media division of Saradha Group.
4. The misleading collective investment schemes were first unearthed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2009 when it asked the Saradha Group to make its balance sheet open for auditing under the Indian Companies Act.
5. In 2011, SEBI also warned the West Bengal government of a possible chit fund scam by the Sudipto Sen-led group which the latter confronted by opening an array of companies and acquiring and selling their shares. The group also laundered money to Singapore, UAE and South Africa.
6. In 2012, SEBI asked the Saradha Group to immediately stop its collective investment schemes and seek permission from the market regulator before any such operations.
7. However, the Saradha Group did not comply by SEBI instructions and illegally collected public money to the tune of Rs 200-300 billion ($4-6 billion) from more than 1.5 million depositors across the country till the scheme colalpsed in 2013.
8. After nearly 600 money depositors staged a demonstration in 2013 in West Bengal against the money laundering and fraud by the Saradha Group, and more than 400 FIRs were registered against the group, Sudipto, and six other executives were arrested by Kolkatta Police.
9. The Supreme Court later transferred the money laundering cases related to the Ponzi schemes to the CBI in 2014. The police also handed over Sudipto Sen, its Executive Director Debjani Mukherjee and Kunal Ghosh to CBI, which led to further arrests of eminent personalities.
10. The CM Mamta Banerjee-led West Bengal government also refunded more than one million low-income investors.