Kolkata, April 29
Accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of shielding those in the know about the Saradha chit fund scam, suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh – now under arrest for his alleged involvement in the scandal – Tuesday expressed doubts over scam kingpin Sudipta Sen’s claim that he had not purchased any of her paintings.
“The chief minister, the government, are all trying to shield those in the know,” Ghosh said, interacting with reporters when he was produced in the court during the day.
Ghosh said he met Sen at the Alipore Central Jail on three consecutive days starting April 10.
“I expressed my curiosity regarding the paintings. He gave me some answers. His statement which I read in the papers today, is not tallying with what he told me then,” he said, However, Ghosh refused to share what Sen specifically told him with the media.
“What he had told me then, I don’t want to discuss with the media. But he did not mention the specific amount which is being discussed now.”
There was high drama after police tried to prevent Ghosh from taking to the media again as he was being taken out of the court. Ghosh protested and sat on the floor saying he would not move if he was not allowed to talk to the media.
As police forced Ghosh to board the van he was heard shouting: “Police are destroying all evidences. Even today, they held a long meeting with Sudipta Sen.”
Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, addressing an election rally Sunday at Sreerampore of Hooghly district, raised questions about one of Banerjee’s paintings being sold for Rs.1.80 crore.
Sen, who opposition parties claim was the buyer, Monday denied having made any such purchase.
Ghosh said the investigating agencies like police and the Enforcement Directorate should arrange a face-to-face between him and Sen.
He also said Transport and Sports Minister Madan Mitra should have been called for questioning long back. “Those who made provocative statements before the agents of the company, and had good words about Sen and Saradha, why aren’t they called?”
Ghosh also asked why the investigative agencies were not summoning city police commissioner Surojit Kar Purokayastha who had attended programmes organised by the Saradha Group and praised both the company and Sen.
Ghosh ridiculed Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy for talking about probes by Interpol and the Central Bureau of investigation. “If they have guts, they should at least form an intra-party probe commission. There are allegations against so many party leaders, including me.”
Ghosh was arrested last November in connection with the biggest financial scandal to have rocked the state – a day after he dragged party supremo Banerjee’s name into the scam.
He was the group CEO of Saradha Media, and drew a whopping Rs.15 lakh monthly salary.
Ghosh had faced a couple of rounds of police grillings in the first few months after the Saradha Group companies collapsed and downed shutters in April last year unable to repay the depositors who had parked their funds in its ponzi schemes lured by high interest rates.
But his real predicament started soon after the MP lashed out against the Trinamool leadership at a blood donation camp last September claiming he was being made a scapegoat and demanded a CBI probe.
A day later, Ghosh was summoned by police for questioning – and the arrest came after multiple rounds of intensive grillings since then.