SHANKAR Barua, former Assam director general of police (DGP) who was under interrogation of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged involvement in the Saradha-chit-fund scam (Rs. 2,500 crore) committed suicide on Wednesday. More than 60 people committed suicide after the company went bust.

According to media reports, Barua shot himself him in the forehead at his house in Barowari in the heart of Guwahati city. He was just discharged from hospital. CBI had searched Barua’s premises in August and was planning to arrest him.

The CBI has registered 48 cases in connection with the scam on the directions of the Supreme Court. Among them four in West Bengal and 44 in Odisha were registered.

The Saradha Group, based in West Bengal, is also accused of duping hundreds of thousands of investors across Odisha, Assam and Tripura where the company had either invested or planned to invest in a range of businesses, including the media and real estate industries.

The size of the scam, according to one official estimate, is pegged at upwards of Rs. 2,500 crore.

More than 60 people committed suicide after the company went bust.

The scam came to light in April 2013 after the group downed shutters without repaying the investors, who had parked their hard-earned money in the group’s companies, lured by the promise of astronomically high returns.

The fraud has swept in some powerful politicians in West Bengal, turning the issue into a major embarrassment for chief minister Mamata Banerjee who stands accused of trying to shield some of the beneficiaries of Saradha’s slush funds.

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