Actor Bonny Sengupta grilled by ED in Bengal job scam case, summoned again
The actor’s name came up during the interrogation of Kuntal Ghosh, one of the prime suspects who is now in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
Bonny Sengupta, a popular Bengali actor, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday in connection with the bribe-for-job scam in the state education department, officials of the federal agency said.
Bonny appeared before the financial probe agency at the ED office in Kolkata on Thursday afternoon where he was interrogated for several hours, people familiar with the matter said.
The actor’s name came up during the interrogation of Kuntal Ghosh, one of the prime suspects who is now in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said officials. During Ghosh’s interrogation, it was found out that Bonny received money from him.
Bonny, who left the ED office on Thursday night after several hours of interrogation, has again been summoned on March 14 with documents relating to the sale and ownership of the vehicle, officials said.
Also Read: Recruitment scam: Bengal schools face staff crunch as bribe givers lose job
Ghosh, a Trinamool Congress (TMC) youth wing leader, was arrested on January 21 in connection with its probe into large-scale irregularities in the recruitment of teachers in West Bengal.
Bonny told the media outside the ED office in Kolkata that Ghosh gave him around ₹40 lakh in 2017 to buy a Land Rover Discovery SUV for personal use.
“Ghosh, who has a production house, approached me in 2017 with an offer for a movie but the project did not take off. Since I had asked him to pay for my car through a legitimate bank transaction, I did shows for him till 2021 to make up for that money. I sold the car after using it for five years. I have no other connection with Ghosh,” Bonny told the media after the interrogation.
Bonny is among a number of actors who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prior to the 2021 assembly polls, however, he left the saffron camp soon, his father Anup Sengupta, a movie director, told media persons on Thursday following the summons.
Bonny’s mother Piya Sengupta said she joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2021.
Upon summons to Bonny, TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh alleged that he was being interrogated because he left the BJP.
“Bonny Sengupta would have been spared by ED had he not left the BJP. So many suspects in other cases are not being touched by ED and CBI because they are in the BJP.”
Leader of the opposition in the Bengal legislative assembly Suvendu Adhikari, however, dismissed the allegations and said the ED is only doing its duty. “This has nothing to do with politics,” Adhikari said.
HT reported on February 21 that the background of several job scam suspects arrested by the ED and CBI since July last year indicates that part of the ill-gotten money was used to fund Bengali movies and music videos.
The first model and actress to be arrested in this connection was Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of former education minister Partha Chatterjee, during whose tenure the alleged scam took place.
While speaking to the reports following his son’s ED probe, Anup told that Arpita Mukherjee acted in four of his movies.
“But those were her struggling years. Arpita used to take a bus to the studio,” said Anup.
Also Read: ED trying to turn Partha Chatterjee’s aide Arpita against him in court: Official
The ED arrested both Chatterjee and Mukherjee on July 23 last year. In its first charge sheet filed on September 19, ED said it traced cash, jewellery and immovable property worth ₹103.10 crore linked to the duo.
In May 2022, Calcutta high court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay ordered the CBI to probe the appointment of non-teaching staff (Group C and D) and teaching staff by the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) and West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBSE) between 2014 and 2021. The appointees allegedly paid bribes in the range of ₹5-15 lakh to get jobs after failing the selection tests.
Both ED and CBI are conducting a probe into the matter.