In a sinister twist to the ongoing Saradha scam, Bangladesh foreign minister Abdul Hassan Mehmood Al is reported to have expressed apprehensions to India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that money from the scam was diverted to fund the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh. Reports to this effect have been doing the rounds for a while now and even the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI have said there is a definite possibility that the crores of rupees swindled from small investors in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha were funnelled out of India.
Now that the government of Bangladesh has officially brought it before New Delhi, India must probe it thoroughly. If the Jamaat is found to be a beneficiary, then the Saradha scam is no longer just another white collar crime or an international money laundering racket. It becomes a national security concern for the two countries. The Jamaat, which considers India to be its sworn enemy, has never had the best interests of Bangladesh at heart either. What is unnerving is that the alleged transfer of Saradha funds to the Jamaat coincides with the time during which the Islamist group was running a sustained campaign of violence and anarchy in Bangladesh.
Of equal concern is the alleged involvement of an elected Indian MP in the matter. If it is established that Trinamool Congress MP Ahmad Hassan Imran was the channel through which Saradha funds were diverted to the Jamaat it is extremely disconcerting. Imran, who is the editor of a Bengali newspaper that was part of the Saradha group’s media empire, is believed to have had close links with the Jamaati leadership in Bangladesh and also with Islamist leaders in West Asia. Though he has denied the allegations, it is difficult to take his word at face value, given that in the early 1980s, he simultaneously served as chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami in eastern India and of the proscribed Students Islamic Movement of India. The Modi government must investigate this with all seriousness and ensure those found guilty are brought to book regardless of their political or financial clout.