Home/ Politics / Policy/  Businessman in Mamata Banerjee’s Dhaka entourage detained in Kolkata airport

Kolkata: In a major embarrassment to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a member of her entourage to Dhaka was detained at the Kolkata airport on Sunday after the Delhi police issued a so-called look-out notice for him for allegedly defrauding a financial institution.

Shibaji Panja, a businessman who also produces films, was later released on bail. He could not immediately be contacted for comments.

He was returning from Bangladesh after accompanying Banerjee on her three-day official visit to Dhaka when he was detained by immigration officials. The Delhi police’s look-out notice was received late last week, said home department officials in Kolkata who did not wish to be identified.

It was initially thought that the Delhi police would obtain from Kolkata court a transit remand and take him to Delhi for investigation, but Panja managed to secure bail within hours of his arrest due to some technical deficiencies in the look-out notice, said the officials cited above.

Panja was previously a key stakeholder in RP Infosystems Pvt. Ltd, a firm which manufactured computers under the Chirag brand. That firm has stopped manufacturing computer hardware and has been struggling to repay loans, according to Panja’s associates, who, too, did not wish to be identified.

It has been alleged by the Delhi police that Panja had falsified documents to obtain a loan of 18 crore. An investigation was launched into the alleged crime last July, but the so-called look-out notice was issued only last week, according to the home department officials cited above.

Lately, chief minister Banerjee has been grappling with an image crisis after several Trinamool Congress leaders were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly abetting the operations of the Saradha Group, which ran Ponzi schemes. These leaders, including state transport minister Madan Mitra, were charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy.

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Updated: 23 Feb 2015, 01:54 AM IST
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