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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mamata seeks escape route amidst Saradha CBI Tsunami,ready to consider alliance proposal with CPIM

Mamata seeks escape route amidst Saradha CBI Tsunami,ready to consider alliance proposal with CPIM
Excalibur Stevens Biswas
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee comes out after attending the AGM of WBCS Officers Association in Howrah district on Friday. Sardha scam CBI enquiry tsunami has greater impact on the number one self declared enemy of communism,specifically CPIM and what a turnaround,Mamata Banerjee indicated in a television interview that she is no more averse to an alliance with the CPI-M to counter the BJP in Bengal. Mind you,the original shafron citadel revived in such a way that next assembly elections may turn into a waterloo for the Left and it would not spare TMC,the ruling party either.Thus, it is being discussed with much enthusiasm whether the Left and Mamata led TMC should align as Lalu and itish have aligned and succeeded just after the defeat in the Lok sabha elections. Mamata is more interested simply because she wants to bail out the party out of Sardha Scam which is possible provided the Marxists committed yet another Himalayan blunder. Earlier,I wrote a story on this line in Hindi and it was violently contradicted by Marxists who claim it may not happen. Here you are it is happening.Both parties have no other survival kit but the much wanted alliance. Asked whether she was willing to have alliance with the Left parties, she said, "We can hold talks with them, there is no problem in talking.Averring that no one is "untouchable", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said her Trinamool Congress would consider and discuss the matter if a proposal for a tie-up came from her long-time foe CPI-M. Meanwhile,the CBI on Thursday carried out searches in seven locations in Kolkata in connection with the Saradha scam. CBI officials quizzed Bapi Karim, the former PA of a Trinamool Congress Minister, and the former IPS officer, Deben Biswas. Prominent businessmen including Sandhir Agarwal, who is in the custody of the CBI, his father Sajjan Agarwal, and another businessman Asif Khan were quizzed. The CBI has extended the ambit of the scam probe to Odisha and Assam along with West Bengal. Among those arrested by the CBI is East Bengal Club official Debabrata Sarkar, whom Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen has accused of taking money from him. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted search operations at various spots across 22 locations in relation with the Saradha chit-fund scam. The central investigation agency raided premises of Assam MLAs Himanta Biswa Sarma and Anjan Dutta, former DGP Shankar Baruah and singer Sadananda Gogoi. CBI sources said searches were conducted at 12 locations in Guwahati, two in Dhubri, Assam, seven in Kolkata and one place in Mumbai in connection with the scam. Sarma was a powerful minister in Tarun Gogoi cabinet since 2001 but was dropped by the Chief Minister after he spearheaded a campaign to dislodge Gogoi. Dutta is considered a Gogoi loyalist who handled important porfolios like transport. In Kolkata, premises of one Bapi Karim, who was a personal assistant to a minister, industrialists Sajjan and Sandhir Agarwal, a former IPS officer Deben Biswas and one Asif Khan were searched. There are four FIRs against Saradha Group in which it is alleged that thousands of investors were allegedly duped by the company officials and their associates who swindled their deposits. Besides, there are 44 FIRs in Odisha against ponzi companies. The Supreme Court had handed over the Saradha chit fund scam probe to CBI and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the CBI team investigating the matter. CBI has formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Joint Director Rajeev Singh to also probe the role of Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and RBI. "Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of regulatory authorities like SEBI, Registrar of Companies and officials of RBI within whose respective jurisdictions and areas of operation the scam not only took birth but flourished unhindered," an apex court bench headed by Justice T S Thakur had said in its order. The search and investigation operations have meandered across several states in the case. Earlier on Monday the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had questioned Trinamool Congress MP Ahmed Hassan Imran in connection with its money laundering probe in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case. Imran, a Rajya Sabha MP, reached the agency`s office in Salt Lake here and will be questioned about his connections with the defunct group owned by jailed Saradha Chairman Sudipta Sen. Sources said the ED wants to grill Imran as he was the Executive Editor of a Bengali publication `Kalam` which was owned by Sen but it was later sold to another business group. ED sleuths want to know details of Imran`s financial income and other interests while working for the publication, the sources said. The agency is likely to confront Imran with some documents it has seized sometime back in this case. The ED has earlier quizzed TMC MP Mithun Chakraborty and Kunal Ghosh and state Textile minister Shyamapada Mukherjee in this case. A criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been registered by the agency last year to probe the ponzi scam that came to light last year after thousands of investors alleged they were duped of their hard earned money by the schemes run by Saradha group. On the other hand,questioning the success rate of CBI in solving cases, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday described investigation by the agency into Saradha Chit Fund scam as a ploy to save the real culprits and use it to defame the state government. "You can check the records, the success rate of CBI is very poor. CBI has been used by the party that is at the Centre to corner its political opponents by using malicious and pressure tactics," Banerjee said in an interview to a Bengali news channel. Banerjee's statement comes in the backdrop of CBI and the Enforcement Directorate closing in on the Saradha money trail and raids and interrogations of various influential persons making headlines everyday. "I think this investigation is moving in such a direction where this is being used to shield the real culprits. But if someone is thinking that by arresting some people they can a carry out malicious campaign against us then we will not tolerate that," Banerjee said. She said that these Chit fund companies which under the radar of central security and intelligence agencies had mushroomed in the state. "These Chit Funds had come up in Bengal during the Left regime. When this chit fund scam came into fore, we arrested the Saradha group chairman (Sudipto Sen) from Kashmir, when allegations were levelled against our Party MP Kunal Ghosh, we didn't spare him either, he was arrested too. We gave back 500 crores to those defrauded investors from our state treasury. We formed the SIT to investigate the scam," said Banerjee. "I personally want that all the real culprits should be arrested and punished, so we have extended all support to CBI and other central agencies. Rather I am relieved that CBI has taken over the investigation now they will return the money," she said. The BJP has been going all out in extending its area of influence in the state to emerge as the main alternative to the ruling party ever since the Lok Sabha polls, where it bagged two seats. However, Banerjee said she was "not at all" worried about the rise of the BJP. "They had won one Lok Sabha seat in 2009 also. This time they have got only one seat extra. And this one extra seat has made them arrogant." Attacking the BJP, she alleged it was coming up with armed processions, instigating Maoists and trying to foment communal riots, "but we won't allow riots. We will prevent that with our blood, lives". Guess  the intensity of Mamata`s known hatred for CPIM as she not only ended the Marxist regime but also had been particular that no one should share anything with CPIM.TMC leaders openly launched hate campaign against CPIM unabated. What happened now? Answering a question she said that if there is a proposal to form an alliance with the CPI-M in future, she will “think” about it. “I am not saying we will make an alliance with the CPI-M. I am saying, that if there is a proposal (of an alliance with the CPI-M), we will think about it actively. I will place the proposal before the party,” Ms Banerjee said Congratulating Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Congress for their “success” in recent by polls Ms Banerjee said that they would have won more seats in Lok Sabha election, if they could have forged an alliance earlier. Commenting on similar alliance with Congress or other parties in Bengal, Ms Banerjee further added. “I do not think any one is untouchable.” Ms Banerjee severely criticized the cadres of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for creating an atmosphere when a “Hindu-Muslim riot can be instigated.” She went on to say the manner in which the central government is being administered the people are “going to face a heat” if there is a global financial crisis. "I know BJP very well. I had once worked under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee for some time," Banerjee, who was in the BJP-led NDA government, said. "They know that they cannot reach the people through politics, or social reforms, so they take recourse to violence," Banerjee said. Taking a jibe at the BJP's pre-election slogan promoting Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, Banerjee said, "Achche din aney wale hain? bure din aye hain (good days are to come? bad days have come)." Asked about BJP's aggressive posturing in West Bengal since the Lok Sabha elections, she said, "Let them first get five seats, then they can dream about 294 seats (West Bengal Assembly strength)." BJP at present does not have any representation in the state Assembly, but has won two Lok Sabha seats out of 42 in the state in the last elections. "They have got only two seats, one of which is Darjeeling that they had won earlier also and have got one more only, so what is the noise all about?" she asked. The TMC supremo claimed that CPI(M) men were getting into BJP fold and were becoming part of its "bhairav bahini". "They are trying to incite violence and riots in the state. They don't believe in practising politics, they believe in creating divisions through raising communal passion," Banerjee said. Congratulating Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar and the Congress for rallying together against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the recent Bihar by-polls, the Trinamool supremo said her party would think on similar lines if such a situation emerged (if the BJP gained in strength) in her state. "I congratulate Laluji, Nitishi and the Congress for coming together. Had they done this before the Lok Sabha polls, they would have won the majority of the seats," she said referring to the by-elections where the combine picked up six of the 10 seats in Bihar. "In our state, if the same situation develops we will think. Nobody is untouchable," Banerjee said in an interview to a Bengali news channel "Chobbis Ghanta". She noted out that her party had joined hands with the Socialist Unity Centre of India and other small outfits in the past. "If somebody comes forward to talk, we will talk. In democracy, one should never close the door on talks. In the modern world, one cannot close options. One has to consider which option is pro-people, pro-peace and pro-development." Accusing the CBI of carrying out propaganda against herTrinamool Congress in its Saradha chit fund scam probe ahead of the bypolls to two assembly seats, West BengalChief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday warned the agency of a "dangerous situation" if it tried to protect the "real culprits". Coming down heavily on the Central Bureau of Investigation, which has been closing in on the Saradha money trail, Banerjee, also the Trinamool supremo, claimed that central agencies had tried the same "conspiracy" ahead of the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year and the 2008 panchayat polls. "They tried to help in the campaign against us before the LS elections by summoning our candidate Arpita Ghosh.. Now because the two by-elections are there, so they are up to it again." Over the past few days, the CBI has grilled Trinamool leaders like state minister Shyamapada Mukherjee, party MP Ahmed Hassan Imran, and another party leader cum former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar as well as senior minister Madan Mitra's former confidential assistant Bapi Karim. The by-polls to the Basirhat (South) and Chowringhee constituencies are slated to be held Sep 13. "The CBI's success rate is only 2.5 percent. Irrespective of who is in the government, the CBI has been used to spread canards against political opponents. If anybody has done any wrong, who don't they arrest him? The entire conspiracy has been hatched to save the real culprits," Banerjee said. She, however, refused to spell out who she thought was the "real culprit". "I don't want to take names, they will be glorified." Banerjee said it was her government which arrested scam mastermind Sudipta Sen and Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh as there were specific allegations against him. "But if the CBI tries to protect the real culprits by nabbing only the small fish, we won't sit idle. There will be a dangerous situation." She said the CBI should not limit itself to Saradha but also bring other chit funds under its ambit. She also denied her government was not cooperating with the CBI. "We have given them our officers, arranged for their accommondation. We have provided all infrastructure. We only want action against all those who duped the people." The chief minister noted that her government returned Rs.500 crore to people who had lost money by parking their hard-earned funds in Saradha's schemes. Lashing out against the Left parties, she alleged that chit funds were its legacy. "It is their scam. The chit funds started mushrooming in 2004-05 when the Left Front was in power."