Saradha: CBI awaiting nod from Delhi to interrogate TMC MPs, minister

  • Soumen Datta, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Nov 23, 2015 16:05 IST
TMC leader and former West Bengal minister Madan Mitra arrives at a local court to surrender himself in Kolkata after Calcutta high court rejected his bail petition. (PTI)

Enthused by their success in sending Madan Mitra back in jail, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is gearing up to summon three MPs and one minister in the Saradha scam. The agency’s Kolkata officers have sent the dossier to their bosses in Delhi and is waiting for their nod before issuing the summons.

The step also marks the revival of the Saradha investigation which, opposition leaders have alleged, was relegated to the backburner for the past few months. Incidentally till early 2015 when the investigation slipped into slow gear, chief minister Mamata Banerjee repeatedly alleged in public meetings that BJP was using CBI to settle political scores with her party.

CBI’s plan now is to interrogate the leaders in December before submitting the final charge sheet in January.

CBI officers told HT that they have stumbled upon crucial evidence against three Trinamool Congress MPs and one very influential minister. The CBI has sent a dossier to the director prosecution seeking legal opinion before summoning them. This dossier contains the evidences and witnesses against these MPs and minister.

“I will not make any comment now. Let CBI summon them, and then we will say whatever we have to,” said Partha Chatterjee, secretary general, Trinamool Congress and the education minister.

The Saradha scam exploded on the face of Bengal in April 2013. It has sunk at least Rs 2,500 crore and ruined 1.7-1.8 million lower middle class/poor depositors and has the distinction of being the scam in Bengal that has tainted several leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress.

After examining different bank accounts of Saradha, CBI found strong indications that ruling party MPs and minister indeed received benefits from the Saradha group.

Earlier, the CBI interrogated two of them regarding their relation with the Saradha group.

In his statement before CBI, Saradha chairman Sudipta Sen mentioned how these Trinamool Congress MPs and the minister had taken money and benefits from him.

When the probe was at its height, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders publicly indicated that Sen purchased paintings by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, triggering some tongue lashing by Trinamool leaders.

The CBI also learnt after interrogating a few top level Rose Valley officials that its chairman Gautam Kundu purchased artworks by the chief minister. Kundu had kept this artwork at his head office but later removed the paintings when he was frequently summoned by Enforcement Directorate.

Both Kundu and Sen are now behind the bars. While Sen was arrested in April 2013, Kundu was arrested in March 2015.

Sudipta Sen told CBI how he was forced to pay up by a Trinamool Congress MP for developing a real-estate project at Contai.

The investigating agency found a few fictitious transactions after examining various bank accounts of Saradha including an with the Indian Overseas Bank’s Gol Park Branch. After scrutinising the transactions CBI is sure that money was transferred from Saradha’s account through these transactions.

CBI is also waiting to know the details of the much-discussed meeting Sudipta Sen, Gautam Kundu and Mamata Banerjee in Delo near Kalimpong.

Sources told HT that if there was any faint indication of anybody deriving any benefit from Saradha, the investigators will summon them for investigation that is now entering the final stages.

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