Saradha chit fund scam: CBI grills TMC MP Srinjoy Bose

The noose appears to be tightening around many prominent leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.

Kolkata: The noose appears to be tightening around many prominent leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.

A day after CBI arrested a leader of West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress and former director general of the state armed police Rajat Majumdar in connection with the Saradha scam, the agency on Wednesday summoned and questioned the ruling party's Raja Sabha MP Srinjoy Bose.

As per reports, the TMC MP was questioned at the CBI office here in connection with his alleged role in the scam.  

Majumdar, the first Trinamool leader to be arrested by the CBI, in the scandal, complained of chest pain soon after being taken into custody and was rushed to the state-run NRS Medical College and Hospital.

Majumdar, who occupied crucial posts like inspector general (Railways) during his long Indian Police Service (IPS) career, was the third arrest made by the investigating agency in West Bengal in the scam, which was said to have spread across various states and whose monetary value could well run into over Rs.10,000 crore.

While suspended Trinamool parliamentarian Kunal Ghosh was arrested by the Special Investigation Team of the state police last year, a minister, several parliamentarians and close associates of powerful leaders of the party have been grilled by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Probing the scandal on the Supreme Court's orders, the CBI earlier quizzed Majumdar for the second time during the day. He faced the first round of questioning Aug 23.

Majumdar had worked as a security advisor for the tainted Saradha Group after his retirement as a police officer in 2008. The arrest was made Tuesday evening after three hours of questioning.

"He has been arrested on grounds of conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation of funds," said a CBI spokesperson. The investigative agency has registered four first information reports in the scam.

Majumdar's name cropped up after journalist-turned-Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Ghosh, now behind bars, accused him of swindling crores of rupees in organising a cultural programme in Las Vegas in 2012.

Majumdar joined the Trinamool in recent years, and served as the party's poll observer for Birbhum district for the 2013 panchayat election. On Aug 14, CBI sleuths raided Majumdar's residence and seized many documents.

Majumdar, who has been denying all allegations against him, will be presented before a court Wednesday.

The CBI Tuesday also grilled Kolkata businessman Asif Khan - a former convenor of Trinamool's Uttar Pradesh unit. Khan, editor of Bengali daily Aajker Kalom, later told media persons that he came on his own and would fully cooperate with the CBI probe.

He faced CBI grilling Monday too. Meanwhile, the ED during the day questioned Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Hassan Imran over his alleged financial transactions with the Saradha Group.

Imran is the editor of Kalom, a vernacular daily that was owned by the Saradha Group till 2013 when it was bought by the Kalom Welfare Association. Launched as a magazine, Kalom turned into a daily newspaper after the group bought it in 2011.

The ED quizzed Imran Aug 25 for the first time. The agency earlier quizzed actor-turned Trinamool parliamentarian Mithun Chakraborty and West Bengal Textile Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee in connection with the scam.

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's companies, lured by the promise of astronomically high returns.

The scandal, said to be the biggest to hit the state, led to a spate of suicides by agents of the Saradha Group and depositors who lost their life's savings. The opposition as also Ghosh have turned the heat on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the scam.

Ghosh told journalists that Banerjee was the biggest beneficiary of the propaganda unleashed by Saradha Media, which he headed, and said the chief minister should be jointly interrogated with him and scam kingpin Sudipta Sen. Sen and his top aides were arrested from Jammu and Kashmir in April last year.

The Congress has demanded Banerjee's resignation in the wake of allegations that the railways had entered into a joint venture with Saradha Tours and Travels when she headed the ministry. The BJP and the Communist Party of India-Marxist have also been attacking Banerjee on the issue.

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