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First head rolls in Bengal Ponzi scam

india Updated: May 05, 2013 09:26 IST
HT Correspondent

In a significant move post the multicrore Saradha Ponzi scam, the CPI(M) expelled Ganesh Dey, the personal assistant of the former state finance minister, Asim Dasgupta, from the preliminary membership of the party for his liaison with the tainted group and keeping the party leadership in the dark.

The CPI(M) central committee member and the party’s district secretary in North 24-Parganas, Gautam Deb, announced the expulsion of Dey from the party through a message published in the party mouthpiece, Ganashakti, on Saturday.

Police sources said the Saradha Group chairman, Sudipta Sen, had claimed during investigation that Dey had helped him set up the chit fund business in 2007-08.

This step by CPI(M) has, however, raised a debate in the political arena.

A section of the political leaders feel that through this expulsion CPI(M) wanted to send a clear message to chief minister Mamata Banerjee who has refused to take any step, forget expulsion, against any of the MPs and leaders of her party who had a long association with the Saradha owner.

Again, another section feels that this step is nothing but a way to deflect TMC’s allegations against the CPI(M).

The decision to expel Dey was taken after Bidhannagar police questioned him and Anjan Bandopadhyay, the public relations officer of HIDCO during the Left Front regime, for their links with the Saradha Group.

Police claimed that their names emerged in the course of interrogation of Sudipta Sen. Although CPI(M) claimed it was in the dark over Dey’s links with the Saradha Group, party insiders ruled this out.

“It is impossible that a party like ours that has a watertight network became aware of Dey’s links with Saradha only after the police started their interrogation. The way Dey’s property swelled over the years it was not possible for him to make that happen with the salary he got as the personal assistant of the then finance minister and from his earlier profession as a school teacher,” said a New Delhi-based leader of the party.

Front leaders, too, did not take kindly to the development. “Though it is a matter of the CPI(M), I must say if others are involved, they, too, should face the music,” said RSP leader Kshiti Goswami.

Ganesh Dey’s property includes a house at Khardha (an industrial belt) in North 24-Parganas, an over 2,000 square feet flat in Salt Lake, two computer training schools (one at Chakdah in Nadia and the other at Naihati in North 24-Parganas).

Besides, his wife owns a computer printing-cumtraining centre at Sukiya Street in north Kolkata.

Repeated attempts by this correspondent to contact Dey failed as calls and SMS to his mobile phone went unanswered.

Dey is one of the very few confidential assistants of the Left Front ministers, who served three full terms (for 15 years) as the confidential assistant of Asim Dasgupta.

The other notable example was Joykrishna Ghosh, who worked as the confidential assistant of former chief minister Jyoti Basu.