Ever since Charles Ponzi, the Italian swindled North Americans in the 1920s, such illegal Financial Networking Schemes surface in different forms all over the world. Right now Bengal is reeling under the impact of a scheme founded by one Sudipta Sen and the fallout is daily suicides, political blame games and chaos.
Generally such schemes are sugar-coated pills, offering higher interest than market rates to investors, packaged in glossy brochures, painting bigger than life pictures of Financial Success in a very short time. The first few investors are indeed paid what was promised, making them invest more and also induce them to bring in more friends and relatives through Cash Incentives and Commission. Soon they announce branching out into Real Estate, Agro-Schemes, Hotel and Tourism etc. etc. Then one night it is all over!– the bubble bursts : offices are shut down, duped investors commit suicide. The money is gone. Recently the world has seen the likes of Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford. Now you can add to the list Sudipto Sen of Kolkata who has duped investors in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Jharkand, Bihar, Orissa to the tune of $5.5 Billion!!
CHIT FUND SCHEMES:
Comparatively Chit Fund Schemes are fairly straight and regular, provided they are approved by appropriate Government authorities. Such schemes offer Member Subscribers the opportunity to avail of periodical Incentives and Prizes through Auction/Lottery, against their small contributions. However, such private offerings often degenerate into Cheat Fund Schemes, duping investors. In Kerala such scams were frequent and such companies were known as Blade Companies.
Sudipto Sen through his Sarada Ponzi Schemes managed to acquire a clean image by roping in all Bigwigs, past/present : Politicians, Film Stars, Celebrities, Media Personnel etc. He was there at all government festivals Offering Free Ambulances, Motorcycles, Bicycles, Prizes, Cash Incentives et al. So much so, that Sarada and the State Government have been viewed as one and the same by the lay public. I am afraid unless the government PR-agencies does some real Fire Fighting to improve the West Bengal Government’s image, Sudipto Sen’s Ponzi Ghost will continue to haunt political circles for long.