Suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh told a Kolkata court on Monday that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was the biggest beneficiary of the multi-crore Saradha scam and said he wanted to give a statement to the CBI.
The judge instructed the Central Bureau of Investigation to record Ghosh’s testimony for “specific input on the involvement of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy”.
The Rajya Sabha MP, former CEO of Saradha’s media business, has been in judicial custody for almost a year and allegedly attempted suicide in jail last month after saying the real architects of the scam were roaming free.
“I possess specific proofs that would reveal the involvement of Mukul Roy and Mamata Banerjee in the Saradha scam. Both Roy and Banerjee are beneficiaries from Saradha media,” the MP told judge Aurobindo Kumar Mishra. “Since I am in judicial custody I would request you to direct CBI to meet me either at the court lockup, or the correctional home so that I can share documents to prove my point.”
The Saradha scam has turned into a major embarrassment for Mamata Banerjee who has been accused by opposition parties of trying to shield some of the beneficiaries of the company’s slush funds.
Ghosh, once a close confidant of party chief Banerjee, also lashed out at state sports and transport minister Madan Mitra, who was arrested in connection with the scam but is now in hospital.
“It has been proved that those who possess money and political power can enjoy luxury of hotel even in jail custody. And for ordinary people like us, life inside a prison cell is mandatory,” Ghosh said.
The Rajya Sabha MP sparked a fresh controversy with his comments as opposition leaders including BJP state president Rahul Sinha and Congress leader Abdul Mannan blamed him for suppressing information.
“I had said earlier that Ghosh had valuable information on Saradha scam and involvement of senior Trinamool leaders. But he had denied then. Now, after he has been expelled and has been staying in jail, he wants to bring the cat out of the bag. He should be prosecuted for suppressing information,” said Mannan.
The collapse of the Ponzi scheme last year resulted in the loss of hundreds of crores to thousands of investors, drawing attention to India’s vast informal financial sector with companies that raise money from the public but don’t fall under the purview of regulators.
“Whatever Ghosh has said on Mitra is true. I would like to request Mitra to not get accustomed to luxury life at the deluxe hospital room. He has to spend a long life inside jail,” Sinha said.