The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday questioned National Award winning filmmaker Aparna Sen and West Bengal Textiles Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee in connection with its money laundering probe in the multi-crore Saradha financial scam.
Sen, who was first to reach the central probe agency’s Salt Lake office accompanied by her husband Kalyan Roy, was grilled for more than five hours and her statement was recorded. The ED is probing her role as the editor of a woman’s magazine, Paroma, that was launched by the Saradha Group in 2011.
Sources in the ED said Sen was questioned about some financial transactions. They said Sen had received Rs 75 lakh as remuneration from Saradha for the 11-month period she served as the editor of Paroma. The magazine was shut down in 2013.
Later, talking to reporters, Sen said she told the ED officials that she knew nothing of the business investments and other ponzi schemes run by the group. She also said she was never involved in any monetary transactions in her capacity as the editor of Paroma.
Sen is the second film personality to be summoned by the ED after actor-turned Trinamool Congress MP Mithun Chakraborty was questioned over a transaction of Rs 2 crore that was released from a Saradha bank account into his account.
Mukherjee, who became the first minister of Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet to be interrogated by the ED in the scam, claimed he had no links with Saradha Group except that in 2009, he sold some land in Bankura to the group.
However, sources said, it was learnt that Mukherjee had sold a loss-making cement company to Saradha CMD Sudipta Sen .
The latest ED probe report has ascertained that the laundering amount in this case is close to Rs 1983.02 crore and it has identified it as “proceeds of crime” as stipulated under the criminal provisions of the PMLA.