Actor Mithun Chakraborty told the Enforcement Directorate that Sudipta Sen, the key Saradha chit-fund scam accused, had paid him Rs 1.76 crore as fees for hosting a political chat show - 'Bangla bolche songe Mithun' - on his Channel 10 news channel but allegedly without signing any formal agreement.
Chakraborty, who is a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member, said he accepted the payments via banking channels from Sen's Saradha group firm, Bengal Media Private Limited (BMPL), in his designated role as the channel's 'chief adviser'- that was limited to hosting the show.
Chakraborty told ED that he first met Sen in November 2010 at Sonar Bangla hotel in Kolkata after an acquaintance, journalist Kunal Ghosh who is also a Saradha-scam accused and suspended TMC MP, expressed a desire to meet him for a "proposal". "At the meeting, Kunal introduced me to Sudipta. Kunal proposed that I do the political chat show," wrote Chakraborty, in his written response to ED's questionnaire last July.
HT could not contact Chakraborty despite several attempts.
Mithun said Sen appointed him to the post via a letter dated November 5, 2010, which had details on payment schedule, an advance cheque of Rs 10 lakh and a reference to a detailed formal agreement.
"But no such formal agreement was signed," he said.
Chakraborty, who is considered to be close to West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, said he "was not aware" of Sen and Saradha group's alleged fraud and ponzi schemes and "learnt" of the scam after news of it broke.
He said he had "no agreement" with the scam accused BMPL firm - which allegedly owed him an outstanding due of Rs 24 lakh - and that he had paid "appropriate taxes" for his payments.
He severed ties with BMPL in January 2012.