The CBI on Wednesday questioned Trinamool Congress MP Srinjoy Bose in connection with the multi-crore Saradha scam. The MP’s interrogation, which lasted over seven hours, was the third by a central agency after Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) had grilled Bose earlier.
Besides Bose, the CBI also summoned for the first time Sameer Chakraborty, a businessman close to the ruling party and husband of senior TMC leader Krishna Chakraborty, who is the chairperson of Bidhannagar Municipality.
Bose is the owner of popular Bengali daily ‘Sangbad Pratidin’ which once employed suspended TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh as its editor. Ghosh is currently behind bars for his alleged role in Saradha affairs.
CBI sources said both Srinjoy Bose and Sameer are likely to be interrogated by the agency again on Thursday.
When Bose was contacted, he said the CBI needed certain clarifications regarding a deal which he had signed with Saradha’s media arm. “My company Sangbad Pratidin signed an agreement with (Saradha Group CMD) Sudipta Sen to provide support to his channel with editorial expertise and content. It was a Rs 10 crore deal but Rs 1 crore remained unpaid. The deal was signed in September 2010 and was over by May 2012,” he said.
He also spoke of his earlier interrogations. “I have submitted all necessary documents to them (SFIO and ED) and to CBI as well. I have been cooperating with the investigation from the very beginning.”
The CBI also questioned Sameer Chakraborty for nearly five hours over his “financial links” with the group. Although Sameer could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. his wife Krishna said, “We want that the people who have been deceived get justice. Let law take its own course.”
With the heat on its leaders growing by day, the ruling party on Wednesday yet again attacked the CBI, calling it a “political tool of the BJP”.
“BJP is playing dirty politics. They are using CBI to satisfy the political interest ahead of the Assembly bypolls here. The credibility of CBI is under question now. All chit funds, right from 1980 to 2012, should be investigated and the perpetrators punished,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
Cabinet minister Subrata Mukherjee chose to attack the media. “A deep conspiracy has been hatched to defame (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee whose credibility is beyond question,” he said, and then added: “Is it the media’s job to issue statements like opposition leaders do?”
Meanwhile, the party’s women wing has decided to hold a day-long dharna in front of the CBI office on Thursday to protest against the investigation. On the same day, the Chit Fund Sufferer’s Association would hold a protest rally demanding justice.