Suicides, thousands of duped investors, hundreds of laid-off journalists, bickering politicians, protests slack regulation, one suspected mastermind arrested: it’s Ponzi scheme time in West Bengal, and it looks likely that little will change after the drama ends.
The latest fleecing of poor and middle-class investors brought in an estimated $730 million, according to media reports, though public interest litigation filed in the Calcutta High Court by one lawyer says the amount is as high as Rs. 300 billion. ($5.5 billion) The head of the Saradha Group and accused mastermind of the scheme, Sudipta Sen, was arrested in Kashmir on April 23 after two weeks as a fugitive. He has maintained his innocence, and reportedly threatened suicide, saying he might not be able to repay investors.
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Rahul Gandhi has his work cut out as the new Congress vice president. His speech at the party’s brainstorming meeting on Sunday impressed fans and critics, but it probably is too soon to celebrate.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)
Speculation has been rife lately within India’s centre-right nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), over who will be its candidate for prime minister in the 2014 general elections.
Party politics is pragmatic if nothing else: if you don’t do what the party wants, you’re out … unless you’re Agatha Sangma.
She is the daughter of Purno Sangma, former speaker of India’s lower house of Parliament, who was forced to resign from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) after refusing his boss’s order to withdraw his bid to become India’s next president. The NCP, a key ally of the Congress party, which rules India under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a coalition government, backs the Congress nominee for the post, ex-Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.