KOLKATA: The ongoing parallel investigation by the Central agencies into the multi-crore Saradha scam have resulted in the noose tightening around the ruling TMC’s neck, with the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) indicting its MP Shatabdi Roy, the CBI planning strong action against West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra and the Enforcement Directorate moving to freeze some party MPs’ bank accounts.
In its “secret” report to the CBI, the ED and the Income Tax Department, the SFIO accused Roy of conniving with Saradha Group chairman and scam kingpin Sudipto Sen and several MPs, ministers and IPS officials from West Bengal, Assam and Odisha.
The SFIO report said the actor-turned-politician, who had been twice elected from the Birbhum Lok Sabha seat, was the “brand ambassador” for Saradha Group and that he made several public appearances luring a large number of investors to the chit fund company. Sen had admitted to paying Roy `2 lakh a month and large amounts for each appearance at the group’s functions. Somnath Datta, Saradha Group vice-president and an accused in the scam, was Roy’s election agent in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
The CBI officials on Tuesday held a meeting to review the situation after Mitra got admitted to hospital to undergo various tests.
According to sources, the sleuths learnt that no tumour was detected on his lumbar spine. Also, it was found that his present health condition didn’t warrant hospitalisation and that he was likely to be discharged in a day or two.
Since Mitra didn’t appear before the CBI after being served a summons, the premier investigative agency will serve a second notice on him and take follow-up action. “It is now clear that the arrest of TMC MP Srinjoy Basu has rattled Roy, and he is deliberately avoiding appearance citing lame excuses and health reasons. If need be, we will detain him for questioning as we have substantial proof of his involvement in the Saradha scam,” said a CBI official.
“We not only have long video footage of his speeches praising Sen, sharing the same dais, and various schemes of Saradha but also evidence of him financially benefiting from the scam,” he said.
The ED has decided to freeze the bank accounts of some TMC MPs, who had failed to furnish proper documents or provide valid reasons for receiving large amounts of money from Saradha Group.
Apart from Basu and Kunal Ghosh, both now behind bars, the ED has interrogated TMC MPs, Arpita Ghosh, Ahmed Hassan, Vivek Gupta and Mithun Chakraborty.