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The Saradha plot thickens now

People need to know more about where exactly lay the culpability of the people arrested in the scam, which laws of the land were broken and how. This way a case for tighter supervision by the appropriate financial authorities can be made.

comment Updated: Dec 15, 2014 01:27 IST

The arrest of a West Bengal minister in the Saradha scam can be looked at in two ways. First, the investigation into the scam has gone further after the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI’s) second chargesheet, though it is not clear why the minister’s arrest came so late. The Saradha boss, Sudipta Sen, reportedly gave details to the CBI about the minister’s financial links with the firm quite some time ago.

Second, as expected, the scope for politicising the scam has deepened as the development has come after the allegation made by BJP president Amit Shah that ill-gotten money from the scam had been used to finance the Burdwan blasts, insinuating that the subversive act was the handiwork of Trinamool leaders, and that the West Bengal government was shielding the blast-accused.

The CBI’s statement has contradicted the first charge, and as regards the second evidence for it has not been forthcoming even as Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool president and West Bengal chief minister, has again complained of her party being the subject of vendetta.

How deep the nexus was between the Saradha group and the Trinamool Congress can be assessed only after the CBI completes its investigation. But the way the Trinamool has been behaving only reinforces suspicions of wrong-doing. Earlier a minister in the West Bengal government had talked about a “fishing and roving” probe by the CBI. Thereafter Ms Banerjee took to the streets after the CBI arrested her party colleague and MP Srinjoy Bose.

Though she had earlier said she had nothing against the CBI probe, which the Supreme Court had ordered, she herself accused the CBI of trying to shield the “real guilty”.

As a result of all this, what people know least is the direction in which the overall probe is going. The CBI has reportedly initiated an inquiry on how Ripley & Company, owned by the arrested Bose’s family, managed to carry out cargo-handling operations at Haldia Port for 25 years, without supposedly paying royalty to the Kolkata Port Trust. In its second chargesheet, the agency put a value of Rs 774 crore as the sum involved.

The Enforcement Directorate, which was supposed to submit its chargesheet in November, has not done so and what accounts for the delay? People need to know more about where exactly lay the culpability of the people arrested in the scam, which laws of the land were broken and how. This way a case for tighter supervision by the appropriate financial authorities can be made.