Kolkata: In this season of scams, a new one has been unearthed, this time in West Bengal and a senior state government leader is said to be allegedly involved. According to a CBI probe, Rs 200 crore, meant for fixed deposits, were siphoned off from four state government departments into hundreds of fictitious accounts. The CBI probe points to the involvement of a senior Trinamool Congress politician.
It was on March 13 that the CBI unearthed a Rs 120 crore financial scam. The money deposited by the PSU, West Bengal Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (WBIDFC) mysteriously vanished from the Circus Avenue branch of the UCO Bank. Investigations revealed that the money was deposited into a private account and was siphoned off through hundreds of other accounts. An FIR was filed and the bank manager was arrested. However, the UCO Bank claimed it did no wrong.
A bank official told CNN-IBN, "All papers given to us by WBIDFC are fake. Money came into our bank in an account the number for which was also given by the PSU. How they chose this branch they haven't told us."
So where did the money go? Investigations revealed that the money was diverted into an account of a private firm - SA enterprises - owned by a man called Pradeep Chongdar. Kolkata Police claimed that this was a fictitious account. However, the CBI is not willing to comment on this for now.
While the local police feels this is just the work of organised cheats, the CBI is looking at a bigger fraud, masterminded by a senior politician from the Trinamool Congress. This is where the contradiction lies.
What is shocking is that Pradeep Chongdar is the common link in not one but three scams.
Over the last eight months, more than Rs 200 crore from four state departments has been siphoned off. Approximately Rs 150 crore has gone into the account of this one man - Pradeep Chongdar. The Kolkata Police has registered at least six cases of fraud since January this year.
The opposition supports the CBI's stance on the involvement of a senior Trinamool politician. "There is an indication that there are invisible persons high up in the state structure who are involved," said CPM leader Gurudas Dasgupta.
Congress General Secretary OP Mishra said, "It's a nexus and a thorough investigation needs to be done."
In all these cases, only seven people have been arrested. But the person into whose account public money was deposited, continues to remain a mystery. CNN-IBN tried to contact the West Bengal Finance Minister and several top Trinamool leaders, but all of them declined to comment.