Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed a supplementary charge sheet in its ongoing probe into the Rose Valley group, booking two Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmakers Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Pal under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly receiving illegal gratification, or “bribes".
Bandyopadhyay and Pal, who were arrested in early January, face up to seven years in jail if found guilty under Section-13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Both the MPs (member of Parliament) from the Trinamool Congress were taken to Bhubaneswar after being detained and are currently in the agency’s custody.
A spokesperson for the agency said the supplementary charge sheet was filed in a court in Odisha, where complaints of cheating were lodged by depositors who didn’t get their money back from the Rose Valley group. The two MPs, along with Rose Valley boss Gautam Kundu also face charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
ALSO READ: Amit Shah in Kolkata calls for TMC ouster in 2019 Lok Sabha elections
The two MPs were not available for comments. A spokesperson for the Trinamool Congress defended them by saying that they were not guilty and that they were only victims of a politically motivated investigation.
Bandyopadhyay and Pal are not the first lawmakers to face investigation for allegedly helping a Ponzi scheme operator ply his trade, but this is the first time the agency has framed charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The agency had previously framed charges under Section-409 of the IPC, which deals with criminal breach of trust by a public servant, against other lawmakers who had allegedly helped the Saradha Group.
The agency has been tasked with investigating at least 12 other Trinamool Congress leaders if they had received illegal gratification as seen in a video footage released by Narada News, a portal.
ALSO READ: Narada accused moves Calcutta HC challenging FIR, court declines to intervene
The investigation revealed that the two MPs “abused their official position...and aided the illegal fund collection business" of the Rose Valley group by “writing letters to the regulators favouring the company", the CBI said in a statement.
Apart from the Prevention of Corruption Act, charges were framed against the MPs for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust by a public servant.
The Rose Valley group collected Rs17,000 crore in public deposits, according to the CBI.