New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday booked sitting Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member of Parliament Ram Chandra Hansda and two former members of the Odisha state assembly—former BJD member of legislative assembly (MLA) Subarna Naik and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Hitesh Kumar Bagarti—in the Saradha chit fund scam case.

A CBI official said 28 lakh and documents were recovered from the parliamentarian’s house. Thirty locations in Odisha and West Bengal were raided on Thursday by CBI—10 in West Bengal and 20 in Odisha—in connection with the case. The agency also raided the premises of Saradha Realty India Ltd and Saradha Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd. Offices and residential premises of the promoters of a company called Nabadiganta Capital Service Ltd in Odisha were also searched.

The now-defunct Saradha Group, a deposit-taking company, ran aground last year and defrauded depositors of at least 2,000 crore. The CBI has so far registered 47 cases, including three in West Bengal and 44 in Odisha in the chit fund scam. On 4 June, the agency had registered 46 first information reports FIRs in the case.

CBI is looking at the role of regulatory authorities and is trying to track the money trail in the politically sensitive and high-profile case, an agency spokesperson said. On 9 May, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to investigate the operations of deposit-taking firms in West Bengal and Odisha, including Saradha Group, citing the inability of the state police to trace where the money has been stashed and the possible involvement of several politicians and others “wielding considerable clout and influence"—both in the state and at the Centre.

Saradha was one of eastern India’s biggest deposit-taking firms, which went bust in April last year after it defaulted on repayments to depositors. The firm allegedly caused an estimated loss of more than 2,000 crore to 1.7 million small investors. These estimates were given by a commission set up under the chairmanship of former Allahabad high court chief justice Shyamal Sen. On 20 May, the agency said that a special investigation team looking into the case had met the chief secretaries and directors general of police of West Bengal and Odisha and had made a formal request for the transfer of documents related to the case.

Close