KOLKATA: Saradha Group chairman Sudipto Sen, prime accused in the multi-crore chit fund scam, not only funded political parties in India, but also Islamic fundamentalists in Bangladesh.
The investigating agencies CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have stumbled upon sensational information that suggests that in order to fan the agitation against the Awami League Government in Bangladesh, Sen sent large amounts of money through an influential politician, who is now a Rajya Sabha MP.
The CBI contacted various agencies of the Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as the Ministry of External Affairs, and learnt several dossiers had existed for decades about the MP with the Home Department of the state government. All these agencies were aware of the MP’s antecedents and links with various Islamic fundamentalist organisations, including Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI), of which he was a key member.
The CBI and ED learnt that the funds collected from the public, through Saradha’s chit fund schemes, were centrally deposited at the group’s offices in Salt Lake. After being accounted for, hundreds of crores were transported to various centres close to the Indo-Bangladesh border.
The cash was put in huge bags and taken by ambulances belonging to the Saradha group. The Indian currency was then secretly converted to Bangladeshi Taka and European currencies at a “Foreign Currency Convertor Centre”, belonging to a man from Kolkata.
Armed couriers of radical Islamic outfits would then smuggle the converted currency across the border, under the cover of darkness.
The deal was that Sen would finance these radical outfits, mainly the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, but separately large amount of his funds would also be delivered to designated places in Bangladesh. The leaders of these outfits had to arrange for Sen’s funds to be sent to banks in Europe through their couriers.
The sleuths believe that thousands of crores, collected from Indian citizens by the Saradha group, had reached these “Anti-India radical Islamic groups in Bangladesh” and also to several terrorist outfits of the country, who were earlier operating in Bangladesh.
Though the CBI or the ED is refusing to disclose the identity of the MP, many former senior Intelligence Bureau officials were more forthcoming. They said they were not aware of the transfer of funds to Bangladesh, but drew the attention of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and also the Prime Minister’s Office.
Former Special Director, Intelligence Bureau, Dhanesh Chandra Nath said, “We all know who this man is. It is unfortunate that West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee sent Ahmed Hassan, alias Imran, to the Rajya Sabha, despite knowing his antecedents.
When SIMI was banned in 2001, Mamata was a Union Minister and she should have known about its leader’s activities in the state. What is of serious concern to us is the planned infiltration of the known subversive elements, into the most sacred and highest corridors of power,” he said.
Nath, who was earlier Joint Director, SIB, in Kolkata for six years, revealed that Hassan, during his days at Aligarh Muslim University, came in touch with SIMI and was given charge of West Bengal. He was also Amir-e-Halka for Jamaat-e-Islami Hind for the Eastern region of the country.
In 1981, Hassan started a Bengali magazine -- “Kalam” -- from 19 Dargah Road, but later, in 1998, shifted to another address on 45 Elliot Road. The Dargah office then became a guest house for SIMI.
Intelligence agencies have reports about SIMI’s link with Islamic Development Bank, which has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. There are reports that Hassan was the key man for IDB in Eastern India. Mamul Al-Azam, Managing Director of IDB and son of president of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Golam Azam, is his close friend.
After turning “Kalam” into a daily and having come in contact with Sen, he sold the newspaper to the Saradha group, but remained its editor. Hassan was introduced to Sen by suspended TMC Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh, who was a journalist and media advisor to the Saradha group. He is now in jail.