Saradha Group director Debjani in ED custody

Kolkata, Sep 25 (IANS) A city court Wednesday remanded Debjani Mukherjee, a director of the tainted Saradha Group, to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the multi crore rupee chit fund scam.

Mukherjee, a close aide of Saradha chief Sudipta Sen, was so long under the custody of West Bengal and Kolkata police since her arrest in April from Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the first instance of a central investigating agency getting the custody of an accused in the scam.

Sources said the ED, which is under the union finance ministry, has also asked for the custody of Sen, who was arrested along with Mukherjee from Kashmir.

"A city court remanded Mukherjee to Enforcement Directorate custody till Oct 1," said her lawyer Anirban Guha Thakurta.

The Saradha scandal - the biggest to hit the state - came to light in April when the company closed shop across Bengal, in April unable to pay back the depositors, mainly poorer sections of the people, who had parked their life's savings with the company, lured by the promise of huge returns.

As the company went bust, there was a spate of suicides by agents and investors and protests across the state.

Despite some political parties pressing for probe by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Calcutta High Court said the stage had not come to hand over the case to the CBI.

The state government agencies are probing the scandal, but the court opined that the state government could seek suggestions or advice from the central agencies.