An RBI officer, a SEBI officer and film actor Mithun Chakraborty will be questioned, too.
Kolkata — So far, some leaders of the Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) have been alleged to be involved in the Saradha Ponzi scandal. If former Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini is considered to have nothing to do with the Indian National Congress, a Member of Parliament’s alleged involvement in the scam drags the party into the sordid affair. The Central Bureau of Investigation summoned and grilled Maldaha Dakshin (Malda South) MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury in connection with the Ponzi scheme today.
Chowdhury had written a letter to then prime minister Manmohan Singh, complaining about the fraudulent scheme in September 2011. In that letter he had claimed he had documentary evidence of the scheme’s fraudulence. However, that very year he withdrew the letter and also started defending the acts of the Ponzi group.
The MP had reportedly met with Saradha group head Sudipta Sen in the premises of the Malda court sometime in 2010 and/or 2011.
Now the CBI wants to know what evidence of fraud Chowdhury claimed he once had.
Reacting to Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury’s summoning, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said it was not a matter for concern for the party.
“Calling for questioning doesn’t mean he has been made an accused. We have been supporting the CBI probe and extend all cooperation to it. It’s not a matter of concern,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Contradicting his September 2011 letter to Manmohan Singh, Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury had, in March 2012, written to the prime minister again, saying, “The company (Saradha) is conducting a prosperous and successful realty business in West Bengal with some investment in the media and health sectors.” He said he was withdrawing his earlier complaint against the group.
But after the scam came to light, Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury admitted batting for the Saradha Group was a “mistake”.
Then TMC MP Soumen Mitra had complained about fraudulence of the Saradha group to the then prime minister, too. Mitra is now back in the INC from where he had defected to the TMC.
On receiving the complaints, the Centre had sought explanation from the West Bengal Government thrice. The latter did not respond.
Next to be called for questioning is Bollywood’s actor of yesteryears Mithun Chakraborty. He was the brand ambassador of the Saradha group. Chakraborty has already been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate.
The CBI also summoned an officer of the Reserve Bank of India of the rank of deputy director. An assistant general manager of the Security Exchange Board of India will appear before the ED on Wednesday.
Among politicians, Trinamool Congress leader and former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar has been arrested along with three others, and the CBI recently grilled CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb. Officials of Kolkata’s football clubs have been interrogated as well.
Abu Hasem is a brother of former Union railways minister, late ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury. Malda politics has been dominated by this family for decades. Another brother of the late politician is Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury, MLA from nearby Sujapur. Their niece and daughter of Ghani Khan’s sister Rubi Noor, Mausam Benazir Noor is the MP from Maldaha Uttar (Malda North). Abu Hasem’s son Isha Khan Chowdhury is the Congress MLA from Baishnabnagar. They all mention “business” as their profession in the affidavits filed with the Election Commission.