Five thousand square feet office space, 10 air-conditioned SUVs, 14 laptops, four printers — these are some of the demands that the Central Bureau of Investigation has made to the West Bengal government to set up an office for its Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has been entrusted with the probe into the Saradha financial scam.
At present, the SIT is functioning from an office at Purta Vaban in Salt Lake.
According to sources, the SIT of CBI placed its demands in its first meeting with the Bengal Director General of Police G M P Reddy and other senior state officials. A senior police official, who was present in the meeting, said the CBI team also demanded at least 100 inspectors who have worked on several Saradha related cases filed in different districts as ‘investigating officers’ (IO).
However, the demand was immediately rejected by the state government.
“If we release 100 inspectors, then the Bengal Police would be left in lurch. We work with a skeletal force in districts,” a senior official said, adding that the state police directorate finally agreed on sending 10 inspectors and 10 constables to CBI on deputation.
However, the state government is yet to decide on the office space demanded by the agency. “We offered space at finance centre in Rajarhat, but they refused saying it was far away from the city. So, we are still looking for an appropriate space,” said a top official of Bengal Police.
The SIT is likely to register an FIR in the financial scam in the first week of June, said CBI spokesperson, Dharini Mishra.
The nine member SIT is headed by CBI joint director (Northeast) Rajeev Singh and comprises S B Bagchi (DIG-head of branch, SCB Kolkata), Navajyoti Gogoi, Upendra Kumar Aggarwal, P B Karna, M T Mang, S K Tripathi, S K Samal and Tathagata Vardan as its members.
The CBI formed the SIT soon after the Supreme Court directed the central agency to probe into the chit fund scam in which investors in West Bengal, Orissa and Assam were allegedly duped of Rs 10,000 crore.
Meanwhile, the Bidhannagar police commissionerate has already handed over all the documents pertaining to the Saradha financial scam that was being investigated by another SIT formed by the government. The state government’s SIT was investigating 381 cases lodged in several districts.