One of the prime accused in the multi crore Saradha chit fund scam, Kunal Ghosh – a former Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabbha Member tried to commit suicide at Presidency Corrctional Home in Kolkata late last night where he was lodged for past several months. Ghosh was rushed to SSKM hospital in the wee hours of Friday when prison guards reportedly noticed him lying in his cell in an “abnormal position“ with some sleeping pill strips lying by his side.
The jail doctor was summoned immeaitely and Kunal Ghosh was moved to the SSKM hospital at about 3 am wher ehe told the attendign doc tor that he had consumed about 30/40 sleeping pills. The doctors immedaitely washed his stomach and by late afternoon his condition was stated to be stable in the CCU.
Kunal Ghosh lived upto his threat just three days ago. On November 10, while being taken to City Civil court at Bankshal in Kolkata for production, he had shouted at the waiting media persons from the prison van saying that he would commit suicide within three days if the real culprits in the Saradha case were not arrested by the CBI. He alleged that the police had let free the actual culprits while he was rotting in the jail. Earlier, too, he had pointed fingers at several top Trinamool Congress leaders for their alleged complicity in the Saradha scam and demanded that they should be arrested and prosecuted.
However, as the day grew, the state government suspended in quick succession the Jail superintendent, the medical offier and the prion guard pending by the police to ascertain the facts and circumstances of how Kunal Ghosh attenpted suicide inside the prison cell. By all standardes it was surprising as to how could he lay his hands on such a large number of sleeping pills.
The Prisidency Correctional home, the Alipore Correctional home and other central jails in Kolkata are notorious for instances when various banned items have been “smugglinged in” for jail inmates – from lifers to the ordinary. Obviously, there existed well established channels within the prisons with active collusion with prison staff for maintaining such illegal supply chains to the prison inmates from cell phone sim cards, to special food packets to other amenities and in this case sedaties by the dozens.
Preliminary inquiry showed that Kunal Ghosh had got his jail doctor to prescribe for a one sedative, one medicine for pressure and another for nerve the supply for which used to come from the prison hosital only. Even though, the number of pills he had taken is still a mystery, the SSKM hospital authority claimed that Ghosh in his statement said that he had 30 to 40 pills . “He was drowsy when he was admitted. There was a chance he might had suffered some sort of poisoning. However, we washed his stomach immediately. We would send the content to the forensic laboratory. Kunal Ghosh in his statement said that he had taken around 30 to 40 pills,” said Pradip Mitra, director, SSKM hospital.
However, senior doctors said that he did not look like having 30 sleeping pills. A medical board has been formed to treat Kunal Ghosh and several kind of medical investigation is being conducted on him. Ghosh was admitted to critical care unit in SSKM hospital.
According to jail sources, Ghosh was suffering from ‘acute depression’ and he used to take pills at night as a part of his medication. After the incident, the jail officials recovered a strip of alprazolam from Kunal’s cell in the high security zone. It was learnt that Ghosh had bought two strips of sleeping pills recently from the medical shop showing his prescription. One strip has already been recovered from his cell. The jail department has formed a committee to probe how the medical shop sold two strips to Ghosh, while Ghosh was known to have been suffering from ‘acute depression’.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suspended the superintendent of Presidency correctional home and the attending doctor. Government has formed inquiry committee headed by state home secretary Basudeb Banerjee. In a statement at the West Bengal assembly, chief minister said that Kunal had walked to the vehicle that brought him to the hospital. “All these are to be looked into,” she said and added he might have taken about 10 pills.
Three suicide notes were also recovered from the ceel. while two notes were written to the chief justice of SC and HC, one note was written to ‘common people’, said sources.
Soumyajit Raha, lawyer of Kunal Ghosh said that his client had suffered an “emotional break down” on November 10 inside the court room and he said that he would commit suicide if the culprits were not booked by CBI. Raha further added that Ghosh claimed that the names he had mentioned to CBI in the Saradha case did not reflect in the first charge sheet submitted by the CBI.
The jail sources confirmed that Ghosh used to be depressed for last few days. He was also worried about his mother who is in critical condition now. The hospital sources claimed that Ghosh is now in the critical care unit and he is responding to the treatment. The state Jail department has already ordered a probe. The guard who was deployed outside his prison is being interrogated to determine how Ghosh could consume so many sleeping pills.
The West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that it would have served the Trinamool Congress purpose if Ghosh had died in the suicide bid. The TMC would have benefited because Kunal had been naming names in the case to the CBI. The BJP spokesperson, SiddarthNath Singh too pointed out that it was not a “suicide bid” but a political conspiracy to get rid rid of Kunal Ghosh who had been naming the Saradha culprits for a long time.