Kolkata: Saradha group promoter and the main accused in the West Bengal chit fund scam Sudipta Sen who was brought to Kolkata late on Wednesday night on a 4-day transit remand was produced in court on Thursday along with two others arrested from Sonmarg in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
There were protests by Congress and Trinamool Congress members outside the court. Sources say the police are likely to ask for two weeks' custody of the accused to track the money trail.
Sources say six trunks full of deeds mentioned in Sudipta Sen's letter to the CBI have been seized. Sen's cook Hemanta Pradhan, who was made a director in one of his companies, has also been questioned.
In his explosive letter to the CBI, Sen says he was forced into media by TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose who runs the Pratidin media group. Many high profile names have been mentioned in the letter, including those of top TMC politicians, lawyers and journalists.
The letter also mentions the lawyer wife of a union minister who was the lawyer for a deal between Sudipta Sen and the Narasimha Rao government minister Matang Sinh and his wife Manoranjana Sinh to buy a channel in the Northeast. The TMC is planning to raise in Parliament the issue of Congress leaders named in Sudipta Sen's letter not being questioned.
Meanwhile, under fire for the involvement of her own MPs in the scam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a Rs 500-crore relief for small and medium investors of the Saradha group. However, she continues to deny that any TMC leader is involved, instead accusing her rivals of politicising the issue.
Earlier on Wednesday when the details of an explosive letter written by Sudipta Sen to the CBI were made public, a round of blame game between the TMC and Left Front had taken place. Sen in the latter alleged that he was forced into the media business by TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose who run the Pratidin media group. He has also said that he is neither liable nor has the money to refund investors.
Through the letter, Sen made himself out to be the victim of a larger conspiracy and not the accused. Sen claimed in his letter that he was used and abused by brokers and politicians in raking in money from investors. What's surprising is that he details the scam, but claims innocence in the face of all allegations saying his signatures and seal were used.
In his letter, Sen says he was forced into enter into the media business as he was being threatened by TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose who run the Pratidin media group. He claims he was forced to pay Rs 60 lakhs to Pratidin for content and 15 lakhs per month to Kunal Ghosh. From 2011 to 2013 Sen claims to have paid nearly Rs 20 crore to the TMC MPs. In return these TMC MPs would offer protection from the State and Centre and exclusive access to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
TMC MP Kunal Ghosh allegedly wanted him to sell Channel 10 to him for Rs 55 lakhs which he refused and eventually the deal was sealed for Rs 24 crore. What's more, Sen names top political leaders and lawyers with links to high profile politicians who would ensure smooth sailing for all his business ventures.
He claims to have paid middleman to settle his case and influence the Sebi as well. He also claims he was asked to pay Rs 25 crores to set up a North East channel through a lawyer in return for political protection.
One of the TMC MPs named in the letter, Srinjoy Bose defended himself on Wednesday saying his links with the Saradha group were completely professional. He sad there was no proximity between Mamata and the Saradha group.