Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, justifying her opposition to CBI investigation into the Saradha scam said, “Why have I opposed CBI investigation? If the state investigation agencies can do a fine job, then why should we ask others? Investigation has been good, very impressive.”
But the facts say the opposite. In the last one year, the Special Investigation Team and the Biddhanagar Commissionerate, formed under the supervision of the state government, has hardly made any breakthrough in the Saradha scam. It has failed to interrogate the people whose names came out in Sudipto Sen’s statements. It has even failed to value the assets owned by the Saradha owner, let alone recovering the investor’s hard owned money. The SIT has almost gone into hibernation.
The role of the state investigation agencies has been dubious in the ongoing Saradha investigation. It has been alleged that the actual work of the SIT or the Commissionerate has been to guard the ruling TMC government. The inefficiency of the state investigation agencies was reaffirmed in the 11 month long Supreme Court hearing on the Saradha case.
Mohammad Salim, CPI (M) Central Committee member, in a press conference held on the 10thMay, said that even the Shyamal Sen Commission constituted by the Mamata government was an eye wash.
The latest step of the SIT in recent times was to send notices to the two CPI (M) leaders, Gautam Deb and Sujan Chakraborty as witnesses in the Saradha case, just after they brought allegations against the present government. This shows the constant use of the state agencies by the Mamata government to crack down on any voice of dissent rose in the state. However, the SIT failed to act upon the leads obtained by questioning Kunal Ghosh. It is being indicated that this was to save the government from embarrassment, as the names of many TMC leaders and ministers came up in Ghose’s statements. Concerns are also being raised against the Commissionerate’s urgency in taking over Sudipto Sen’s and his wife’s bank lockers. It is being alleged that probably this move was to clear the locker of documents that could put the government in trouble.
The state agencies also did not take any action on the detailed allegations brought about in the 17 page long letter written by Sudipto Sen to the CBI. He had informed of many top rung TMC leaders and ministers as involved in the scam. All this indicate protection of real culprits.
The obvious questions being asked to the TMC government are:
· Why has the SIT in the last one year failed to produce a complete list of Saradha’s assets?
· Why did the state investigation come to a standstill after the arrests of Kunal Ghosh and Debjani Mukherjee?
· Why did not SIT conduct investigations to find where did the 2,500 crores rupees worth of money, belonging to the investors disappear from the market? Who benefitted from this loot?
· Why did the state government oppose the CBI and ED investigations into the Saradha scam?
· Why were the powerful people, many belonging to the ruling TMC, whose names came up in the ongoing investigations, not interrogated?
· Why did the state government bail out the media companies owned by the Saradha Private Limited?
These potent questions become very important in the face of the shear extent of the Saradha scam. The Supreme Court had remarked that the money of almost 18 lakhs investors is at stake in the Ponzi scam. Whereas, the Chit Fund Sufferers Association has said that SC’s figures are conservative, while the actual number of investors are a staggering 91 lakhs. The scam had spread its network across the eastern states of Assam, Tripura, Orissa and Bihar. Till now almost 93 affected investors and agents have committed suicide.
May 10, 2014