The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday grilled Trinamool Congress MP Ahmed Hassan Imran for nearly seven hours in connection with its money laundering probe in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
In the process, Imran became the fourth MP — after Kunal Ghosh, Mithun Chakraborty and Satabdi Roy —from the ruling party in West Bengal to be questioned in the scam, in which the ED has pegged the loss to the depositors at Rs 2,500 crore.
The ED recorded the statement of Imran, a Rajya Sabha MP, on his links with the now bust group, whose owner Sudipta Sen is currently in jail. “The MP’s statement was recorded and he has assured cooperation in the future in this case,” sources in the ED said.
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After coming out of the agency’s office in the Salt Lake area of the city, Imran said he has “submitted necessary documents and given all the relevant details” pertaining to the sale of a three-decade-old Bengali daily, ‘Kalam’, to Saradha Group a few years back.
Imran is the executive editor of a Bengali daily, which was bought by another firm after Saradha Group went bust. Earlier, Sen had bought all the shares of ‘Kalam’ in order to expand the media platform he was hosting.
The sources said the MP has told the agency that he has done no transaction with a wrong intent. “No amount has changed hands wrongfully. I told them the deal had no wrong intention,” Hassan said.
ED, sources said, wanted to know the details of Hassan’s income and other interests while being associated with the publication. The agency also confronted the MP with some documents it had seized sometime back in this case.
Sources said Hassan’s testimony in the case was “very important” in order to understand the business transactions of the Saradha Group’s media businesses.
The ED had earlier quizzed TMC MPs Mithun Chakraborty, Kunal Ghosh and Satabdi Roy apart from Shyamapada Mukherjee, who is a minister in the Mamata Banerjee government.
A criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been registered by the agency to probe the ponzi scam that came to light last year after thousands of investors alleged they were duped of their hard earned money by the schemes run by Saradha Group.