Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's name has now got dragged into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
As per reports, a CBI inquiry into the scam has revealed links between the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) and the Saradha Group at the time when Mamata was the Railways Minister.
The IRCTC and a Saradha Group firm had in 2010 signed a contract concerning a tourism project.
As per CBI sources, Saradha Tours and Travels officially organised South India package tours for the IRCTC, as part of the Bharat Tirth scheme launched in 2010-11 Rail Budget by Mamata.
The Bharat Tirth scheme envisaged launching 16 special trains connecting popular tourist sites as also pilgrimage centres in different parts of the country.
Sources said Saradha Tours and Travels organised three 14 nights/15 days South India tours comprising train fare, accommodation, food, transfers and sightseeing.
While the main opposition Left has demanded a probe into the revelations, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha has ruled out any such inquiry.
"When CBI is probing, there is no need for any inquiry by the Railways. Whoever is found guilty in CBI probe, the government will take strict action," Sinha said.
Asked if those at the helm of affairs of the department then would be under the scanner, the MoS added: "I an not taking any names. CBI is inquiring. Whoever is found guilty in the probe, whosoever he may be or she may be, the law will take its own course."
The Saradha scam came to light in April 2013 after the group downed shutters without repaying lakhs of investors, who had parked their hard earned money in the group companies, lured by the promise of astronomically high returns.
The CBI is probing the matter as per a direction of the Supreme Court.
(With agency inputs)