Kolkata: The police in Kolkata have started a criminal case against Kanwar Deep Singh, a member of Parliament from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), for allegedly duping investors, amid allegations that he had funded the Narada News sting operation that showed top leaders of the party receiving cash.

Complaints against Singh’s Alchemist Group, which used to raise public deposits, have been piling up for years, but this is the first time, an investigation has been launched into its operations by the Kolkata Police.

Singh, who remained incommunicado, has already stepped down from the boards of almost all the companies that he had founded.

The police’s decision to launch a probe comes days after the Supreme Court upheld a Calcutta high court verdict launching a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Narada News sting operation.

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Two others have been named in the first information report: (FIR) Pavan Kumar Verma, director of Alchemist Ltd, and Kumarjit Singh, whose connection with the group is not immediately clear.

Mathew Samuel, editor of Narada News, had previously said that the sting operation was funded by non-resident Indians based in West Asia, but in recent television interviews following the Calcutta high court verdict, he has alleged that Singh was behind it.

Singh is the controlling shareholder in Anant Media Pvt. Ltd, the company behind Tehelka of which Samuel was the editor until last year.

“The police in Kolkata are looking to get into the investigation into the sting operation, and the case against the Alchemist Group opens a new channel," said a top police officer, who asked not to be named.

After coming to power for the second time, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had ordered a probe into the sting operation by the Kolkata Police, but it was halted by the Calcutta high court.

The police are of the view that the sting operation was funded by cash illegitimately collected by the Alchemist Group, the officer added.

Samuel could not be contacted on Thursday. He did not answer phone calls or reply to text messages.

On Thursday, Banerjee said in a television interview that Narada News sting operation was politically motivated and that nominating Singh to the Rajya Sabha was a “blunder".

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