The handing over of investigation into the Narada sting operation scandal to the Central Bureau of Investigation is a big blow to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The 62-year-old leader has been embarrassed by a string of scams where several of her top lieutenants have been embroiled.
Here’s a recap :
1. Saradha scam: The Rs 2,500-crore chit fund scam duped millions of depositors spread across states spanning from Odisha and Jharkhand to Assam and Tripura. Saradha sank in April 2013 and its chairman Sudipta Sen and executive editor Debjani Mukherjee were arrested from Kashmir. Agitations and a spate of suicides gripped the streets of Kolkata and suburbs and villages of Bengal as dozens of agents and depositors who lost their money ended their lives. The most important face to suffer the Saradha blow was Madan Mitra, sports and transport minister who was arrested on December 12, 2014. Other party functionaries to be jailed were Rajya Sabha MP Srinjoy Bose and vice-president Rajat Majumdar. High profile leaders who were subjected to grilling included party number two Mukul Roy.
2. Rose Valley scam: The extent of this scam was six times that of Saradha at Rs 17,000 crore. The party’s leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay was arrested on January 4 this year and fellow MP Tapas Paul was arrested on December 30 last year. Both are behind bars. It is speculated that a few more leaders may be summoned by the central agency for interrogation in the Rose Valley scam.
3. Film City scam: Just a couple of days ago, CBI arrested Basudeb Bagchi and Avik Bagchi, father-son duo of Prayag Group who are behind a film city on 12,500 acre in Chandrakona in West Midnapore district. It is rumoured that ruling party leaders may be under the scanner even in this case.
4. Flyover collapse scandal: When the under-construction Vivekananda Road flyover in north Kolkata collapsed and killed 27 people on March 31, 2016, it was alleged that Trinamool leaders of the area supplied substandard building materials that were used in the construction. However, Kolkata Police investigated the case and filed the charge sheet in end June 2016 in which 10 engineers and officials of construction firm IVRCL were charged with criminal sections. IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) were slapped against them.