In the blockbuster film, Munnabhai-MBBS, the lovable character with the same name, played by Sanjay Dutt, and his associates created a fake hospital filled with patients and doctors in a matter of a few hours to prove that he had, indeed, become a doctor.
In Chinsurah, Saradha owner Sudipto Sen faked a full motorcycle factory over 7.7 acres with 150 employees in real life for two years to delude thousands of depositors into believing that he had a running factory and they could trust him with their money.
Inside this closed motorcycle factory in Hooghly, workers routinely faked activity to dupe depositors who were brought here in busloads. They returned convinced.
For two years since January 2011, employees at the Saradha group-owned Global Automobiles were forced to pose in front of the conveyor belt to give the impression that the plant was operating in full swing.
They pretended to work whenever truckloads and busloads of prospective depositors of Saradha Realty visited the plant for a first-hand check before investing.
Just before the depositors reached the factory, the workers would get dressed in their blue uniforms, rush to the shed where the assembling of motorbikes used to be done and pose in front of the conveyor belt as if they were really assembling the twowheelers.
They also used to turn on the fountains inside the campus. The prospective investors had no way of doubting that the plant had actually stopped production in January 2011.
“They showed the investors that the plant was fully functioning, had good prospects and asked people to invest in it. Most of the visitors used to believe what they saw,” Anirban Poddar, a mechanic at the plant, told HT.
On Monday, aggrieved employees at the plant repeated the whole episode before this correspondent to show how their employers used them to cheat people, who came from places as distant as Siliguri, Bankura, Malda, East and West Midnapore and the South 24-Parganas.
They were also treated to a free lunch at the canteen meant for the employees.
The 150 employees at the plant who hold professional degrees to work at an automobile plant were being paid their monthly salaries (between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10,000 per month) for these 24 months only to pose before prospective depositors at the chit fund run by their employer, Sudipta Sen, Bengal’s most wanted man for the past one week.
“When we protested, the management told us that, since we were getting our salaries, we should keep shut,” Lakhindar Ram, another employee, said.
“We also had hopes that the factory would resume production if it got the investment,” he added.