National

Three TV channels owned by Saradha Group to be auctioned

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on January 13, 2014

The Justice Shyamal Sen Commission is likely to auction three TV channels owned by the Saradha Group to raise funds in order to pay back its creditors.

The Commission was set up by the State Government to inquire into the Saradha scam and suggest ways for repayment of or compensation to creditors.

The three channels to be auctioned include Tara Muzik, Tara News and Tara Punjabi, sources said. They were run through the now defunct Saradha Group-controlled Broadcast Worldwide Ltd.

A process to take over and run two of Group’s channels – Tara News and Tara Muzik – had earlier been initiated by the West Bengal Government. The Ordinance issued by the State Government, for acquisition of these two channels, was put on hold after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said raised objections to it. The Ministry said it would be a violation of existing licensing law, which bar State Governments from running TV channels.

“Three Saradha-run channels having 160 employees will be up for sale in order to repay dues,” Justice (Retd.) Shyamal Sen told media persons during a press conference.

The Saradha Group that operated through various deposit-taking schemes — with interests ranging from real estate to media — went bust in April last year duping thousands of investors.

Subsequently, its Chairman Sudipta Sen was arrested by the police. Later, the CEO of its media ventures, Kunal Ghosh — also an MP of the Trinamool Congress — was also arrested.

Sudipta Sen, during a hearing before the Commission, is said to have suggested that properties of the Saradha Group be sold off to raise funds for return to its investors.

So far, 1.04 lakh creditors have been compensated by the Commission and cheques for another 1.66 lakh will be ready soon. Around 17 lakh claims were made before it.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 13, 2014

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