Actor-turned-MP Tapas Pal is not the only Trinamool Congress leader who is under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged links with the Rose Valley chit fund group. Sources claimed a number of politicians, most of them associated with Bengal’s ruling party, had financial relations with the group that is believed to have raised more money from the public than the Saradha group.
“We have information that not only Pal but some other Trinamool Congress leaders too had developed connections with the Rose Valley group over the years. Some of them received payments. They are all under scanner,” a source in the CBI told HT on Friday.
It is widely believed the Rose Valley group wiped up around Rs 15,000 crore from public, which is much bigger than the Rs 2500 crore collection of the Saradha group. CBI sleuths raided the Kolkata residence of Pal on Wednesday and may also call him for interrogation. “We may also raid residences of other leaders involved in the Rose Valley scam,” the source added.
On Friday, speaking to the media, Pal welcomed the CBI investigation and promised all cooperation with the probe. Significantly, Pal had informed the Centre about illegal activities of many a chit fund groups but Rose Valley’s name did not feature in that list. Asked why, Pal said on Friday that he was not aware of Rose Valley’s illegal activities back then.
“I did not know about it then. But I have decided to offer full cooperation to the CBI sleuths investigating this matter,” Pal said.
CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose, however, took a dig at Pal for remaining silent on Rose Valley so long. “It appears like he was a child back then, and has grown up now,” Bose sarcastically commented.
“The Rose Valley scam is a much bigger than Saradha, and there are many political leaders who are directly or indirectly linked to the media and other companies of the Rose Valley Group. We are now evaluating their role and whether they have got payments, directly or indirectly, or got benefited in some other way,” a CBI sleuth, based in New Delhi, told HT on the condition of anonymity.
According to him, documents seized from Pal’s home during the Wednesday raid may lead them to new discoveries about connections of the “the influential persons”.
“Especially the Rose Valley media and entertainment companies are under thorough scan. Many ruling party personalities seems to have links with these wings,” said the CBI officer.
Bengal’s ruling party is already facing an opposition fusillade over the involvement of many of its leaders in the Saradha scam. Already one minister, a couple of MPs and a vice-president went behind the bars, apart from dozens who faced interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.
If the Rose Valley probe hauls up new faces, it will open up another series of political storms before the civic polls in about 100 municipalities this year and the crucial assembly polls in the next.