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Partha Chatterjee summoned to explain role in Saradha scam

CBI is probing alleged links between the Saradha chit fund scam, surfaced in 2013, and the funding of the Trinamool newspaper, Jago Bangla

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KOLKATA: Trinamool minister Partha Chatterjee has been summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with its probe into the Rs. 10,000 crore Saradha chit fund, sources said.

Partha Chatterjee is likely to visit the CBI’s office in Kolkata after 2 pm, sources said.

Partha Chatterjee has been called to meet our officers for questioning in connection with our probe into the Saradha scam. “We are waiting for him,” a CBI officer said.

The CBI has called the state education minister for questioning a week after another Trinamool MP, Derek O’Brien, was questioned for three hours at the investigating agency’s Bidhananagar office in Kolkata. The company was booked in May 2017 on the orders of the Supreme Court, they said.

The apex court had directed the agency to probe all the companies allegedly involved in the ponzi scam being probed by a special investigation team of West Bengal, the officials said.

The CBI is probing alleged links between the Saradha chit fund scam, which surfaced in 2013, and the funding of the Trinamool newspaper, Jago Bangla. Partha Chatterjee is the editor of the newspaper, while Derek O’Brien is its publisher.

Other Trinamool leaders who have been summoned by the CBI earlier include Subrata Bakshi and Manik Banerjee, an aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Derek O’Brien, a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has often claimed that the Saradha chit fund scam is being “politicised” by the BJP-led central government to defame CM Banerjee. “Corruption will never stick to Didi’s white saree,” he had remarked earlier this year.

Last month, the Enforcement Directorate had summoned six people, including Trinamool lawmaker Satabdi Roy and former member Kunal Ghosh, for questioning in the chit fund scam. Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar is also an accused in the case.

The Trinamool government in West Bengal has been dogged by the Saradha chit fund scam as well as the Rs. 17,500 crore Rose Valley scam for several years now. The CBI is carrying out searches at 22 locations in West Bengal which are the premises of directors and promoters of New Land Agro Industries, one of the accused companies in a ponzi scam case, officials said.

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