New Delhi (PTI): The CBI has filed an FIR against a small savings bank for allegedly swindling investment worth crores of rupees of more than 20,000 of its customers in West Bengal, officials said on Monday.

The central agency registered the case on Sunday, within days of the Calcutta High Court imposing a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for violating its order of not transferring the three-year-old case to the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Quoting the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case, the officials said that the charge of the case was handed over to the agency by the CID on September 16 after fresh directions by the Calcutta High Court a day earlier. The directions included the imposing of the fine on the CID.

Earlier, on August 24, the high court's circuit bench at Jalpaiguri had directed the CBI to take over the probe into the case related to the management of the 'Alipurduar Mahila Rindan Samabay Samity' that is accused of swindling money deposited by its 21,163 customers.

The officials said the allegation, according to complainant Alok Roy, a resident of Surjyanagar, is that a small savings bank, formed on January 18, 2000, at Dhakeswari More employed a number of agents to collect money from people on the assurance to return the same as and when required.

It is further alleged that the bank authority, without following proper norms, illegally and maliciously issued a large number of loans to various people, and the depositors did not get back their money from the bank due to this malpractice, the officials said.

According to the complainant, this resulted in pecuniary loss of general depositors and also caused illegal pecuniary gain to some office bearers of the bank, they said.

The officials added it was also apprehended whether the bank has any proper license or permission from the appropriate authority to carry out such type of activity.

On September 15, the court took serious note of the CID for filing a recalling application and said the plea for recall is "absolutely frivolous" and tantamount to "playing with the court".

"CID has filed the recalling application. I do not know why. This shows that none of the papers and documents relating to investigation by CID has been handed over to CBI and ED. CID is playing with the court.

"The application has been affirmed by one officer of CID. Why CID is so much interested in not handing over the investigation to CBI and ED? Is CID apprehensive of something that will come to light which was guarded by CID from public gaze," the court had said.

According to the petitioners, the money deposited by 21,163 customers is not less than Rs 50 crores which has been given as loan to different borrowers. However, the names of such borrowers have not come to light even after the CID investigating the matter for nearly three years.

When transferring the probe to the CBI and the ED, the court had noted in its order of August 24: "The borrowers took the money and never returned it. Therefore, the said organisation could not return the money to its members including the petitioners when they needed. CID has not been able to bring out any substantial fact related to this matter though they have investigated the matter for nearly three years."

The high court while rejecting the plea had also directed the CBI and the ED to commence their investigation into the matter within three days.

"I direct CBI and ED to start the investigation by three days from date if not done already and I direct the CID to hand over all papers and documents to CBI and ED by September 18, 2023," it had said.

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New Delhi (PTI): Kota MP Om Birla on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid indications that he will again be the ruling National Democratic Alliance's candidate for the Lok Sabha Speaker's post.

Several NDA sources said Birla is likely to be their candidate for the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha.

The opposition, sources said, may not name its own candidate, letting the NDA nominee to get elected unopposed.

There is a view that the opposition may get the Deputy Speaker's position

By retaining the Kota seat in Rajasthan, Birla has become the first presiding officer to be re-elected to the Lower House in the last 20 years.