Mamata attacks CBI, says Saradha probe taking side of thieves

Kolkata : On a day another Trinamool Congress parliamentarian was arrested in connection with the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – without naming the CBI which is probing the scandal – Friday alleged that the investigation was aimed at “taking the side of the thieves”.

Lashing out at the course of the probe, Banerjee said: “The people duped by the Saradha and other chit funds are not getting back their money. And the cases are being registered to find who all have duped Saradha.”

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“This amounts to taking the side of thieves. No case has been lodged to protect the interest of those who have been deprived,” Banerjee said, addressing Trinamool workers in Kalyani in Nadia district, before the arrest of the party’s Rajya Sabha member Srinjoy Bose by the CBI.

Bose, editor of Bengali daily Sambad Pratidin and Trinamool mouthpiece Jago Bangla, was arrested “for his prima facie involvement on allegations of criminal conspiracy, misappropriation of funds and deriving undue financial benefits”.

Earlier, the CBI had taken into custody another Trinamool leader and former police officer Rajat Majumdar for his alleged complicity in the scandal.

Questioning the jurisdiction of the probe, Banerjee said: “(The investigators) seemed to be only concerned with who all attended some programmes (organised by the Saradha Group), and the clubs and community Durga puja celebrations where they (Saradha group heads) had reached out to.”

“Is this your jurisdiction? Is it not your jurisdiction to take steps against the Saradha Group people by identifying all those they have duped? And then, is it not your duty to arrange to repay the money to those duped,” she asked.

Banerjee claimed that, in contrast, her government had formed a commission and returned money to five lakh people who had lost their savings by parking their funds in money schemes run by Saradha.

She also asked why no step was being taken against media houses who got monetary benefits from chit funds.