Kolkata: In a major development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested West Bengal State Transport Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra after questioning him for his alleged role in the multi-crore rupee Saradha chit fund scam case.
Before formally arresting him, the CBI quizzed Mitra for the alleged role he played in the Saradha group and his relations with the group's head Sudipta Sen. Mitra is considered very close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Mitra is the third ruling Trinamool Congress minister to have been arrested in connection with the scam. He has been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and taking undue benefits from Saradha group. Mitra's arrest is a major embarrassment for the firebrand West Bengal Chief Minister.
Mitra, who was summoned by the CBI for the second time, had reached the CGO Complex here at 11 am, officials said.
In the latest development in the high-profile arrest, Mitra has complained of chest pain during medical examination and is likely to be taken to the hospital.
The CBI had summoned Mitra November 18 for the first time but he could not appear on health ground.
After undergoing treatment at a private hospital initially, Mitra was admitted to the state-run SSKM. Hospital on Nov 20 from where he was discharged on Nov 26.
Denying any involvement in the scam, Mitra after getting discharged from the hospital, had asserted he would cooperate with the CBI whenever it called him for questioning.
The legislator from the Kamarhati assembly constituency had appeared as a guest in several Saradha programmes where he had praised group promoter and scam kingpin Sudipta Sen for generating employment.
The CBI had earlier grilled Mitra's former confidential assistant Bapi Karim.
Mitra is the second state minister to be grilled by the CBI, earlier Textile Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee was questioned.
A few Trinamool leaders including Rajya Sabha members Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose are behind the bars in connection with the scam.
Importantly, the police custody of suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh, who was arrested on November 23 in the Saradha Group chit fund scam, also ends today.
Ghosh last month allegedly tried to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills inside the Alipore Central Jail.
West Bengal Correctional Home Services Minister HA Swafi said, “Ghosh, who was later admitted to a state-run hospital, allegedly took sleeping pills to commit suicide. He later on called the doctor and they found everything to be normal but still as a precautionary measure we did not take any chance and got him admitted to the SSKM Hospital. "
On November 10 when he was produced before a city court, Ghosh had threatened to commit suicide if the CBI did not take proper action against "those involved" within three days.
"Investigation is being influenced. It is not acceptable that I will rot in jail while those involved will roam freely. I am giving three days' time, if action is not taken Iwill commit suicide,” he had said.