Monday, December 2, 2013

Saradha scam: Cornered Kunal Ghosh names Mamata

KOLKATA: Fearing arrest any day for his alleged connections in the Saradha scam, suspended Trinamool leader Kunal Ghosh dropped a bombshell on Friday by dragging party supremo Mamata Banerjee's name in the Ponzi muddle. Pointing out Saradha CEO Sudipta Sen's proximity with the chief minister, the Rajya Sabha MP claimed that Sen floated the media houses to help Mamata become the Prime Minister.

"'Madam, apni CM theke PM hoben, ami media house ke seibhabei sajachchhi. (Madam, I am setting up my media house in a way that it helps you become the PM).' This is what Sudipta Sen told Mamata," Ghosh claimed at a hurriedly called press meet at his Sukeas Street residence.

Police went to his house late Friday night, triggering speculation of his arrest. This came soon after Bidhannagar police commissioner Rajeev Kumar met the home secretary at Nabanna, say sources.

Earlier in the day, Kunal had called the CID probe into the Saradha muddle a "premeditated move" and claimed that the disappearance of the Saradha CEO within hours of the scam coming to light was part of a pre-planned script.

He alleged that the police questioning him "take orders" from Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy.

The journalist-turned-MP held that the direction of investigation was chalked out by those "high above" and there has not been any effort to find out the real culprits. "I want Rajiv Kumar (Bidhannagar Police commissioner), who takes orders from Mukul Roy, to arrest me. I will not plead for anticipatory bail," Ghosh said. He held that those who "benefitted the most" from Saradha scam are now being "worshipped" across the state while he is being made the scapegoat.

Ghosh said he will now write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a CBI probe into the multi-crore scam. "Tell me who was unaware of media houses of Saradha group? Who compelled Saradha to become a party organ? ...I alerted everyone but no action was taken as they wanted the media house to run till the panchayat election was over," the MP said.

Ghosh's salvo met with reticence among Trinamool circles. "He (Kunal Ghosh) is currently under suspension. We choose not to respond to his comments," said party spokesperson Derek O'Brien.

However, Ghosh's demand for CBI inquiry was lapped up by rebel Trinamool MP Somen Mitra. "Our chief minister is a symbol of honesty. She should accept the demand and recommend a CBI inquiry on her own," said Mitra.

Left in the lurch, Ghosh broke down while talking to the media, saying that the Bidhannagar Police has threatened to arrest him if he fails to come up with a satisfactory reply on where the Saradha money has been stashed other than his media ventures. "I know nothing about Sen's funds. So it is not possible for me to give such details. I am not disturbed with the agencies questioning me. I am hurt because those who I trusted have backstabbed me," he said.

Before going to Biddhannagar Police Commissionerate on Saturday for further questioning, the suspended leader promised to take a few more names other than the three - Madan Mitra, a retired IPS officer and a media house owner - he took earlier, and tell the media what he told the police. Ghosh refused to divulge any name before he gets them recorded with the police commissionerate.

The MP wanted the investigators to find out whose envoy met Sudipta Sen before the letter was written to CBI. "I am sure Sen was compelled to write the letter to CBI. It was not his deliberate decision. Even his disappearance into a village in UP was preplanned," Ghosh claimed.
TNN Nov 23, 2013, 02.39AM IST

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