CBI sleuths probing the Saradha chit fund scam has landed fresh input from a central investigating agency suggesting that a top Trinamool leader siphoned off Rs. 1 crore from Bengal through the hawala route.
The money was routed towards the end of 2011 through a city-based businessman and hawala operator, who goes by the name ‘Kohli’.
The information was sent in a ‘note’ to CBI a few days back, sources said.
Sources said the CBI is set to confront the Trinamool leader in question in the light of the input. The leader, sources said, is to be summoned along with fellow party member and Lok Sabha MP Subhendu Adhikary.
The charge, if proved, could pile further misery on the ruling Trinamool government, which already has its back to the wall in the wake of the Saradha arrests, Burdwan terror bust and a host of other issues.
Sources said the sleuths, after examining call records, have also learned that Saradha boss Sudipta Sen had frequent telephonic conversations with Trinamool all India general secretary Mukul Roy. This apart, he was also allegedly in touch with minister Madan Mitra, who has been arrested in connection with the multi-crore swindle, and a handful of other top Trinamool leaders.
After grilling Mitra and fellow Saradha accused Kunal Ghosh, Sudipta Sen, Rajat Majumdar and Debjani Mukherjee, the sleuths are convinced that it was the minister and the suspended Trinamool Rajya Sabha member who introduced Roy to the Saradha chief.
During interrogation, the Saradha boss reportedly admitted to meeting Roy in April 2013. The meeting happened just days before Sen fled Kolkata, sensing the Saradha Empire was crumbling around him.
After probing the minister, Saradha chief, and the Trinamool rebel, the CBI has reason to believe that Sen had many political leaders on the take to ensure his money collection business continued hassle-free.
Debjani too echoed Sen’s claim to the CBI, saying that her boss met Trinamool MPs Subrata Bakshi and Sudip Bandopadhyay at the office of a leading Bengali daily.
Quizzed on the claim, Bakshi denied meeting Sen, saying, “I don’t wish to get into any argument. I have no knowledge of holding such meetings. You should get back to whoever gave you such information and check for details.”
In his statement to the CBI, Sen described in detail how he was introduced to Roy and why he met him at Nizam Palace in April 2013.
“I met Mukul Roy at Nizam Palace and told him about the problems in publishing Bengali daily Kolom. He advised me to hand the ownership of the daily to his nominee. He gave me a sheet of paper and asked me to sign on it. I did as told and handed the paper to him,” Sen told CBI.
The CBI is also likely to issue summons to Roy and quiz him on his alleged involvement in the day-to-day functioning of Kolom. The Saradha chief had reportedly been pressured into buying the daily from Trinamool MPS yed Imran Hassan . The sleuths also have pictures of Roy sitting at Kolom’s office.