Kolkata: In more embarrassment for the Mamata Banerjee government, another letter written by Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul has surfaced which had pointed towards the inaction over rising chit fund scams in West Bengal. In the letter dated 2010, the Trinamool Congress MP had asked the Centre to control the growth of ponzi schemes in the state.
CNN-IBN has accessed a copy of the letter written by Paul to then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on June 2, 2010. Paul asked Pranab to examine record of 16 companies involved in raising money from people.
The sixteen companies named by Paul include Trinamool Congress MP KD Singh-owned Alechemist Holdings. He sent the letter to 56 people including P Chidambaram and the then West Bengal Governor. In his letter Paul said that 'innocent people are being cheated'.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress, under fire from the Congress and the Left Front over the West Bengal chit fund scam, has said that it had no role to play in it. Party leader Saugata Roy said, "The TMC as a party is not involved in the scam. This has been done by a scamster. I have no knowledge of any personal connection between the TMC and the Saradha group."
He, however, said that the charges levelled against the TMC MPs were serious and the state government was handling "the investigation with all seriousness". "A judicial commission has been formed. The state government is planning to call a special Assembly session to enact a law against chit fund," he said.
He added that it would be "nice if they step down, but it's according to them and what our party leadership decides". "The MPs should defend themselves," he added.
Meanwhile, the Mamata Banerjee government has cracked down on the Saradha group in the chit fund scam. The state government has frozen about 35 bank accounts belonging to the Saradha group, while 36 cars belonging to Saradha Chairman Sudipta Sen and his company have been seized.
Four office buildings in and around Kolkata belonging to the Saradha group have also been seized along with hundreds of land documents. The Bengal government appointed judicial commission will start receiving complaints of investors from Monday. The West Bengal Police has also got a four-day transit remand of Sudipta Sen.
The Trinamool Congress is on the defensive after Sudipta Sen claimed he was blackmailed by the party's leaders. TMC MP Srinjoy Bose denied the allegations and said his company's tie-up with the Saradha group was a completely professional one. "Our group had a professional tie-up with Saradha group's TV channel. It was a purely professional relation," Srinjoy Bose told IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai. "It's ridiculous to drag every one into the controversy just because we had some association. Today all Bengali channels are running on chit fund money," said Bose, is also the owner of Bengali daily Pratidin.
He added that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has not asked for any explanation from him. "Mamata has not asked for any explanation from me, I have shown the agreement to her," Bose said. He added that he was not an MP when the tie-up happened. "Mamata was not in power when we had a tie-up with Saradha's channel. I was not an MP in 2001 when this tie-up happened," Bose said.
This came after national daily The Indian Express reported that the Saradha Group CMD has sent an 18-page letter to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The letter contains the names of several key politicians, officials and legal experts who allegedly milked the company for money. Srinjoy Bose is one of the TMC MPs allegedly named in the letter.
The letter could reveal a nexus between politicians and the chit fund industry. The report states the letter is believed to have described links with at least two Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha members and a minister in Assam.