The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today took on the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), already on the defensive regarding the Saradha mess that has dragged in several of its members. Former housing minister and CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb pointed to various irregularities by Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
One of these is that Abhishek’s company, Leaps & Bounds Pvt Ltd, was incorporated on April 19, 2012, according to official filings with the registrar of companies (RoC); however, the company’s own website claimed it had been incorporated in 2009.
"...in 2009, with no background in business, he (Abhishek Banerjee) incorporated his own company with a vision of providing quality and constructive consultancy services to venerated corporations across the nation," the website reads.
Deb said: "(This) false claim...is a punishable offence."
His press conference was to counter a legal notice served by Abhishek Banerjee, who is national president of the TMC youth wing, TMC Yuva. He had served a legal letter to Deb for raising questions about Leaps & Bounds at a public gathering recently.
In another section, the company website says, “Over the years, we have diversified into many new businesses in order to better meet the needs of our customers...The company now boasts of a wide diversification in areas of consultancy, insurance services, micro financing, venture capital, industries and real estate solutions.”
Deb questioned if the claims of operating in the "finance" sector, including "insurance" and "micro-finance" had the required regulatory approvals.
Contrary to the claims made by Leaps & Bounds, Sujoy Bhadra, one of the directors, said none of the businesses, barring consultancy, were operational. The diversification plan included setting up a packaged drinking water plant, which was still in the planning stage, Bhadra said, when asked by Business Standard.
Later, Mamata said, “I stay alone. I have no family. I work only for common people like you.”
This apart, for microfinance, insurance, real estate and venture capital services, the company had not even approached the regulators for approval. “We have no business interests in microfinance, insurance or real estate. It is all in planning stage. For insurance services, we have sent part of our management for a training course with Irda (the insurance sector regulator),” said Bhadra.
Leaps & Bounds had been engaged in consultancy services since 2009, when it was started as a partnership firm between Abhishek Banerjee and his mother, Lata Banerjee. It was converted into a private company in 2012, as it chalked out plans for diversification, according to Bhadra.
He said last year’s turnover was Rs 2.5 crore.
Incidentally, later in the evening, Mamata Banerjee, addressing a public gathering to counter the opposition's various allegations against her party, she said,"I have no family. I work only for common people like you."