A day after it arrested city-based entrepreneur Santanu Ghosh in connection with a transaction of over Rs 52 crore with Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen, the Enforcement Directorate officials said they are also investigating into a Rs 80-crore bank fraud in which the businessman is said to be involved.
A nationalised bank had filed Rs 80-crore fraud case with the CBI. The central agency had also submitted a chargesheet in that case. However, the ED is now looking into the money laundering aspect in the case. It has been learnt that the ED sleuths have found Ghosh’s “involvement” in the bank fraud case too. However, the case does not bear any link with the Sardha financial scam.
Ghosh, the chairman and managing director of the Bengal-based Xenitis Group, was arrested after several rounds of interrogation after Saradha Group chief Sudipta Sen reportedly told the ED officials the former had sold his “non- productive” company Global Automobiles to him for Rs 52 crore. The company was set up to manufacture the country’s cheapest motorcycles — 100-cc Rock-100 for Rs 19,000 — but had reportedly not produced a single unit and had closed down.
The Saradha Group chief, in a letter to the CBI, had said that Ghosh along with two others — one lndrajit Chandra and freelance journalist Goutam Biswas — came to him to sell Channel-10, a regional news channel. Sen said that was “the point where I started the mistakes”.
The deal was finalised at Rs 30 crore. Ghosh and Chandra again met Sen with an offer to sell his company, Global Automobiles. Sen said in his letter that Ghosh “moulded me.told me that this company can generate Rs 55,000 crore per month if it can run properly”. The Saradha Group chief said Ghosh wanted Rs 22 crore from him saying that his bike company had taken bank loans of Rs 200 crore and that he wanted to settle the amount by Rs 140 crore “and for repayment of the same three to five years time will be taken”.
“I repeatedly asked for papers and documents but they did not support me (with) a single paper. Rather every where they circulated that Saradha has taken the project (Global Automobiles) from us and we are free from all liabilities,” Sen’s letter to the CBI reads.
As per the ED sources, Ghosh raised money from six banks, including two nationalised banks, showing them the documents of Saradha Group.
According to sources, Ghosh was in the business of buying and selling companies. “It was his modus operandi to raise money. He had bought several companies and sold them too. He is a perfect example of money launderer,” said an investigator. Meanwhile, Sen talking to the mediapersons while being taken to the court, said he was happy over Ghosh’s arrest.