West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s confrontation with the Centre intensified as CBI arrested Trinamool Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay, in connection with the Rs 17,000-crore Rose Valley Ponzi scam+ that came to light in 2013.
As soon as the TMC minister was Street fights erupted on Tuesday between Trinamool and BJP. TMC workers attacked, vandalized BJP office and workers and also went up to an extent to lodge bomb on BJP leaders house which came as huge criticism from all over the country and the act of TMC was condemned over all.
“Sudip Bandopadhyay is a very senior leader. He is the Trinamool Parliamentary Party leader. I couldn’t think that they would arrest Sudipda. From what I gather from my sources in the Enforcement Directorate and CBI, instructions are coming from the top to go for our ministers and MPs — Abhishek Banerjee, Firhad Hakim (Bobby), Sovan Chatterjee, Subhendu Adhikari, Moloy Ghatak…They are also after my family members. I dare them to arrest all of us. I know why they are doing this. They had put pressure on me to keep silent. But you know me, I didn’t buckle under pressure. I am committed to the people’s cause, come what may,” the Trinamool chief said.
BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh rubbished TMC’s “political conspiracy” theory. “CBI is investigating the Ponzi scam under the directives of the Supreme Court. It is a legal process. Chit fund companies have looted people in Bengal and Trinamool leaders have a hand in such companies,” Singh said.
The arrest of Sudip Bandopadhyay, Trinamool Congress’s member in Lok Sabha, had appeared to be on the cards, especially after the recent arrest of his colleague Tapas Pal+ . According to CBI sources, Bandopadhyay was taken into custody after he parried questions put to him. Sources said the Trinamool MP kept silent when asked why he attended a delegate meeting of the Rose Valley Group at Netaji Indoor Stadium when, as member of the parliamentary standing committee on finance, he was aware of the alleged irregularities involving the promoters of Rose Valley.
The senior Trinamool MP had no answer when CBI officers asked him about the sponsors of his foreign tours or who gifted him a sedan car. The investigators claim that Rose Valley sponsored his tours to a South Asian country, a kingdom in the Middle East, and to the United States. The husband of a Kolkata film star had allegedly accompanied the Trinamool Congress leader.
Investigators suspect that Bandopadhyay was in company with those who helped Rose Valley boss Gautam Kundu launder money overseas. CBI is also tracking the alleged role of Bandopadhyay in helping the Ponzi group buy a central Kolkata hotel. According to sources, the hotel was up for sale at Rs 60 crore when Kundu suddenly started bidding for the hotel. Finally, the hotel was handed over to Kundu for a whopping Rs 122 crore. Sources said one part of the payment was returned to Kundu at a hotel in Kathmandu.
While leaving the state secretariat at Nabanna on Tuesday evening, Mamata said: “It isn’t a big deal if I am to believe for argument’s sake that Sudip took Rs 2-3 lakh for the elections. I am not sure about it. But going by the same argument, (PM Narendra) Modi should be arrested. From where did Modi get the money to wear a suit worth crores? BJP leaders take the help of Adani Group for bringing funds from abroad. They are the mother of all thieves.”
The Trinamool chief didn’t spare the Left who did not support her allegation linking arrests of Trinamool leader to political vendetta. “All the chit fund companies were set up in the 1980s when the Left was in government. I want to ask why Sujan Chakrabarty, Rabin Deb or Mohammed Salim are not being arrested. Why is CBI silent on Babul Supriyo and Roopa Ganguly who have been regular in the Rupashi Bangla channel (owned by the Rose Valley Group) shows? The central agency has never questioned Congress MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury on why he gave a clean chit to the Rose Valley Group,” Mamata said.
Bandopadhyay is the latest in a growing list of Trinamool politicians who have been arrested in connection with Rose Valley and Saradha scams, beginning with Madan Mitra, Mukul Roy, Kunal Ghosh, Srinjoy Bose and Tapas Pal. Mithun Chakraborty, who recently resigned from the Rajya Sabha on health grounds, was also recently questioned by the ED in the Saradha scam.
As many as 18 lakh families lost their lifetime savings in the ponzi scam which promised fabulous returns and in fact, turned out to be the biggest money spinner in the state over the last 20 years till the bubble burst in 2013. Chit fund companies were the biggest investors- from motorbike manufacturing units to media and films. The Ponzi barons had built a rapport with the influential in all professions. Their income soared from thousands to crores. The sudden collapse of their empire led to huge a cash crunch in the state.
Article from Times Of India