Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's key aide Srinjoy Bose in connection with the multi-crore Saradha scam.
"He has been arrested in connection with the Saradha scam," a CBI official told reporters here.
Bose, who also owns the popular Bengali daily 'Pratidin', once employed the suspended Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh, now behind bars for his alleged role in the Saradha scam, as editor of the newspaper.
The special crime branch of the CBI had earlier too questioned the Trinamool Congress MP.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal Textile Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee, Trinamool Congress MP Srinjoy Bose and Congress leader Somen Mitra appeared before the CBI in connection with the case.
Bose was arrested after several hours of grilling by CBI sleuths here today.
The premier investigation agency decided to take him into custody for his "prima facie involvement in the case", a CBI official said.
Till now, several TMC leaders have been arrested and interrogated by the CBI in connection with the scam.
Bose is the second Trinamool leader to be arrested by the CBI in the scam. The agency had earlier arrested Trinamool leader and former director general of State Armed Police Rajat Majumdar.
Besides the CBI, Bose had earlier been grilled by the Enforcement Directorate as well as the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) which too have been probing the scam.
With the CBI summoning West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra and Trinamool Congress MP Srinjoy Bose, the opposition BJP and the Congress on Wednesday had said that more names from the ruling party would be interrogated in the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam.
However, the Trinamool Congress sought to defend it's leaders by claiming that summons by the CBI did not tantamount to being guilty.
The summons were sent to both the Trinamool leaders days after the central probe agency submitted its second charge sheet in the scam and a failed suicide bid by suspended Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh, who is behind bars.
Meanwhile, reacting on Bose's arrest, BJP leader Siddharth Nath said, "He's an important link in Saradha scam, his arrest means a lot," ANI reported.
He's an important link in Saradha scam, his arrest means a lot:Siddharth Nath Singh,BJP on TMC MP Srinjoy Bose arrest pic.twitter.com/i8NYIg93po
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 21, 2014
"WB CM and TMC leadership has been in denial, now she needs to answer," he added.
Hitting back at the BJP, TMC member Derek O'Brien said, "CBI is political tool used by previous governments for settling political scores," ANI reported.
CBI is political tool used by prev Govts for settling political scores:Derek O'Brien,TMC onTMC MP Srinjoy Bose arrest pic.twitter.com/K0GouVwP4U
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 21, 2014
"BJP is doing action replay, they used discredited CBI to try and attack us," he added.
Soon after the arrest, the Enforcement Directorate has frozen 30 bank accounts belonging to Srinjoy Bose.
The agency froze four accounts of Bose including three personal accounts in different private banks and a professional account of a literary publication he owns.
ED also froze 26 accounts and fixed deposits of painter Shuvoprasanna, considered close to ruling TMC in West Bengal in the Saradha chitfund probe case.
On Tuesday, the CBI had arrested a middleman after recovering cash of over Rs 14 lakh and two gold biscuits from his residence during searches conducted at 18 locations including the home of a Rajya Sabha MP in connection with its probe into the Seashore group's alleged chit fund scam.
Shubhankar Nayak, the alleged middleman was arrested by the agency late in the evening, a CBI official had said.
The agency had carried out search operations in Delhi and Mumbai besides 16 locations in Odisha. These included the residence of Rajya Sabha MP from Odhisa Pyarimohan Mohapatra in Delhi and Bhubaneswar and two retired IAS officers -- PK Hota and SC Pattnaik from the state.
The Saradha scandal came to light in April last year. The company closed shop across Bengal after being unable to pay back the depositors -- mainly poor people who, lured by the promise of huge returns, parked their life's savings with the firm.
(With Agency inputs)