KOLKATA: The ED and CBI probing into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam on Tuesday uncovered a total of Rs 120 crore in several bank accounts of an alleged gold smuggler having ties with the ruling TMC.
The ED has taken Abdul Barik Biswas into custody. Abdul was arrested in May when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) caught him red handed as he was smuggling gold biscuits worth Rs 13 crore. He had taken his gun out and threatened to shoot the sleuths who accosted him, but was overpowered and brought under control. He managed to secure bail in the case.
The smuggler, who hails from Sangrampur in Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, is a local TMC leader and his brother Gholam Biswas is a TMC zilla parishad member.
“Rs 120 crore was deposited in 16 of Abdul’s bank accounts in a week’s time in 2012. We suspect he was the main man through whom Saradha funds were transferred to Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh as he has property in Satkhira there,” an ED official said on Tuesday.
“We have found out about his barter trade of cows against gold biscuits along the Indo-Bangladesh border in North 24 Parganas district. He was arrested earlier by the DRI on charges of gold smuggling, but got bail. We have unearthed his links with senior TMC leaders who had helped Saradha group chairman Sudipto Sen acquire land at throw away prices from farmers,” he added.
Though Abdul has not been cooperating with the ED, sleuths found out that, apart from his palatial house at Basirhat, he has property in Barasat and Kolkata worth hundreds of crores of rupees. He also owns property in New Delhi.
Even when he was in jail, Rs 6 crore was deposited in a “spread out manner” in 10 of his bank accounts. The ED suspects that he supervised agents of the Saradha group. Abdul’s wealth increased exponentially in 2012, the year in which the chit fund group collected most of its funds from the public.
The official said Abdul carried Saradha funds to Dakha and invested a portion of it hospitals, banks and real estate and the rest was handed over to the Jamaat.