In further trouble for the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, the Enforcement Directorate has now decided to summon veteran actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Mithun Chakraborty to question him in connection with Rs 10,000-crore worth Saradha chit fund scam.
Top ED officials, who are conducting a parallel investigation into the scam, confirmed Friday that the actor will be questioned regarding a “money trail” that begins at a Saradha Group company and ends in his bank account.
As per the sources, the ED sleuths have documents that allegedly show a payment of Rs 2 crore being made by the Saradha Group to Mithun. The transaction, which is on record, was carried out from a Saradha bank account, sources said. However, the investigators are yet to find a satisfactory reason for which the payment was made.
The ED would now be sending summons to Mithun to appear in front of the investigating agency next week.
Significantly, Mithun’s name had figured in a tell-all letter that chairman-cum-managing director of Saradha Group, Sudipta Sen, now in jail, had written to the CBI in April 2013. In the letter, Sen had mentioned that Trinamool Congress MPs Srinjay Bose and Kunal Ghosh had brought Mithun as the brand ambassador of Channel 10 —- one of the several TV channels owned by the group.
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“They (Bose and Ghosh) brought actor Mithun Chakraborty as the brand ambassador of the channel for Rs 20 lakh per month. But Mithun did not participate in any function except one talk show organised by Channel-l0,” Sen wrote in his letter.
Days after the Saradha Group went bust in April last year, Mithun had alleged that he did not get his due payment from the company. He had, however, added that returning the money to the poor people who were duped by the company was more important than clearing his dues.
When contacted, Mithun’s secretary said that the actor was away in Mumbai for shooting and won’t be able to talk.
In the last three months, the ED sleuths have interrogated TMC MPs Srinjay Bose, Arpita Ghosh, Ahmed Hassan Imran, and a pro-TMC intellectual and renowned artist Suva Prasanna.
Party MP Kunal Ghosh, who was suspended by the TMC, is in jail and has been named an accused in the FIRs lodged by the CBI, which took over the investigations into the scam following Supreme Court’s order last month.
The CBI, too, is likely to summon several other senior TMC leaders. Earlier, Congress councillor Prakash Upadhyay had submitted some documents to the ED and the CBI pertaining to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation allotting trade licenses to 43 Saradha companies at single address on Diamond Harbour road in Behala on the southern fringe of the city. The CBI might summon Mayor Sovan Chatterjee in this connection.