The CBI searched Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul’s home in a posh south Kolkata neighbourhood on Wednesday as part of its nationwide raids on the Rose Valley Group, a deposit fund conglomerate bigger than the scam-mired Saradha group.
The Bengali actor-politician was a board member of Rose Valley Marketing India Ltd and Idea Projects Ltd — two companies of the group — for brief periods over two financial years since 2009.
“I do not know anything. I have left that (Rose Valley) long ago. I don’t have any information about any raid. I am in Parliament. My wife works for some television programmes sponsored by the group. I will enquire,” Paul said over the phone from Delhi.
But a CBI spokesperson said offices and homes of Rose Valley Group chairman Gautam Kundu, managing director Shibomoy Dutta and Paul were searched by the agency’s special investigation team probing chit fund scandals in West Bengal.
Searches were conducted at 43 locations across the country, including 27 in West Bengal, seven in Tripura and one each in Odisha, Assam, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
Officials of the Enforcement Directorate, which is also investigating the financial scam, said the amount raised by the Rose Valley Group was six times bigger than what Saradha had collected.
Union minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha last month, said the Saradha group and Rose Valley raised Rs 12,740 crore illegally. Investigations revealed Rose Valley collected as much as Rs 10,281 crore from investors, while Saradha mobilised Rs 2,459 crore, he added.
Several top Trinamool leaders were either in jail or being named in the multi-crore Saradha scam that has allegedly defrauded millions of people — mostly poor — by promising returns higher than what banks offer.
Paul, a two-time MP for Krishnanagar, was in the news last year for his hate speech at a rally in which he was caught on camera exhorting supporters to rape and kill CPM loyalists. He was censured by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, but let off lightly after he apologised for his “emotional outburst”.
(With inputs from agencies)