CBI arrests TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay in Rose Valley scam2 min read . Updated: 04 Jan 2017, 11:19 AM IST
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee calls emergency meet after the CBI arrests party MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay in the Rose Valley chit fund scam
Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested Sudip Bandyopadhyay, a Trinamool Congress leader from central Kolkata and member of Parliament (MP), for his alleged connections with the now-defunct Rose Valley group, which received over Rs10,000 crore in public deposits.
Bandyopadhyay, the leader of the Trinamool Congress party in the Lok Sabha, is to be taken to Bhubaneswar and will be produced before a judicial magistrate on Wednesday. He was detained at the CBI’s Kolkata office after several hours of questioning, said a spokesperson for the agency.
On Friday, the CBI arrested Tapas Pal, another Trinamool Congress MP, and charged him with cheating and criminal conspiracy among other serious offences.
Pal allegedly held a key office in the film division of the Rose Valley group and helped the company expand its deposit-taking business. He, too, was taken to Bhubaneswar, and on Saturday remanded in custody for three days.
The Rose Valley group was active in many eastern Indian states. The CBI is currently acting on complaints of cheating registered against the group in Odisha.
The group’s chairman Gautam Kundu was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in March last year. While the ED, which normally probes money laundering, to focus on recovery of assets, the CBI has started to dig into the group’s political contacts.
Bandyopadhyay took several weeks to turn up for questioning.
The Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had seen this coming. She told a press conference on Friday that Bandyopadhyay should not avoid questioning, and should “bravely" face detention by the central agency because it was driven by “political vendetta".
The charges against Bandyopadhyay are serious, claimed CBI officers in Kolkata. He had lent his name and goodwill to endorse the group despite previously being a member of the parliamentary standing committee on finance and junior minister at the centre, these officers said, asking not to be named. In a public meeting in Kolkata, Bandyopadhyay spoke highly of the group to shore up people’s confidence in it, the officers added.
In addition, after the Trinamool Congress came to power in 2011, ending the Left Front’s rule in West Bengal, Bandyopadhyay provided protection from the local administration for the Rose Valley group to expand its business, the CBI officers claimed. He was rewarded unlawfully for his support to the group, they added.
On Tuesday, during questioning, Bandyopadhyay was found to be incoherent, according to CBI officers. That led them to decide that custodial interrogation was required to get to the bottom of Bandyopadhyay’s alleged role in the scam.
On Tuesday, Banerjee linked the arrests again with her party’s strong stand on demonetisation. She said on Twitter that the Centre was “vindictive" and that the nation had been launched into a state of “full-fledged emergency".
A mob of Trinamool Congress supporters attacked the BJP’s party headquarters in Kolkata in retaliation, alleged Rahul Sinha, a BJP leader. The police managed to contain the unrest. The Trinamool Congress said it will launch protests in 10 states on Wednesday against the arrest of one of its founder members.