Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged the CM Mamta Banerjee government of West Bengal of impeding the investigations going on in the multi-crore Saradha ponzi scam. It has alleged that the “hostile” government is delaying the filing of the final charge sheet.
“The state government is hostile to the CBI and in the case of Saradha scam, the government machinery has damaged all the evidence.” A senior official of the CBI was quoted by reports. This is the reason, the official added, the filing of charge-sheet is getting delayed.
The reports further say that banking security fraud branch, special crime branch and the economic offender wings of the premier investigative agency has been rendered non-operational after West Bengal had withdrawn the general consent to CBI, last year.
“Only the Economic Offences IV (chit fund probe wing) is functioning in the state,” The official was quoted further.
Earlier this month, CBI had nabbed Chief of Shree Venkatesh Films, Shrikant Mohta, in connection to the Rose Valley Chit Fund scam. It is alleged that Mohta’s production house was paid Rs 25 crore by Rose Valley for producing 17 films.
The senior official from CBI alleged that officers from a police station had come to Mohta’s office, where CBI was conducting the interrogation, to intimidate the sleuths. Mohta is considered close to the ruling dispensation of West Bengal. CBI is probing Sardha Chit Fund Scam and Rose Valley Scam, simultaneously.
The Saradha Scam was brought to light in 2013. Many political leaders were connected with this Ponzi scheme that was run by a consortium of over 200 companies. The Saradha Group had reportedly collected more than 200 billion rupees from lakhs of small investors. The Group had collapsed in April 2013 and a year later, the Supreme Court of India had ordered the CBI to take over the investigation from the state SIT.
The CBI has also recently filed a charge sheet against Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, in the Saradha chit fund scam.
CBI is not the only institution in West Bengal, which has alleged state government of non-compliance with it. Last year, an RTI had revealed that the West Bengal government was refusing to share details on schemes and e-procurement, to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India(CAG).