West Bengal: CBI summons Derek O’Brien, grills Mamata Banerjee’s close aide over sale of her paintings to chit fund companies

According to CBI sources, the TMC Leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O'Brien, has been asked to appear before the Agency by the third week of this month with relevant documents detailing transactions done in the respective accounts.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday, have questioned Manik Majumdar, a close aide of the West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, about the sale proceeds of the paintings and even sent a notice to her party’s MP Derek O’Brien.

The CBI has reportedly questioned Majumdar over how the proceeds of the CM’s paintings were utilised.

The Trinamool Congress has been hellbent, ever since, claiming that the sale proceeds of her paintings were used to set up and expand operations of Jago Bangla, the mouthpiece newspaper of the party.

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CBI officials have reportedly stated that they are “Investigating the route of chit fund money in various directions so as to the find out the larger conspiracy angle as has been directed by the Supreme Court of India.”

Banerjee’s close aide, Manik Majumdar, who was questioned by the CBI, is an authorised signatory of the bank account of the newspaper, while the Trinamool legislator, Derek O’Brien is the printer and publisher and party general secretary, Subrata Baxi is the editor of the Trinamool’s mouthpiece newspaper, Jago Bangla.

Subrata Baxi was summoned by the CBI back in December 2018, regarding the same case. Derek O’Brien too was sent a notice, then but was unable to go to the CBI office as he was at that time in New Delhi attending parliament.

As the TMC MP did not join the probe, he was issued a fresh summons. According to CBI sources, the TMC Leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, has been asked to appear before the Agency by the third week of this month with relevant documents detailing transactions done in the respective accounts.

As per reports, O’Brien has stated that though he has heard of the summons, he has not received it and will decide on his response after receiving the summons.

The CBI had on January 31, alleged that the West Bengal CM, Mamta Banerjee and her government were 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.

BJP President, Amit Shah, while addressing his rally in West Bengal, on Tuesday, went hammer and tongs against the TMC supremo, accusing the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee of selling her paintings at inflated prices to chit fund companies in dubious deals.

CM Banerjee had become furious at the allegations and stated that her party will issue a notice to Amit Shah and will consider filing a defamation suit.

The state government has been at loggerheads with the CBI on a number of issues. Recently, CBI officials had claimed that the WB government is obstructing the investigations into the Saradha Chit Fund scam case.

The reports further mentioned 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.

In August, last year, the CBI had written to the Director General of Police in West Bengal, seeking to question members of the SIT team that investigated the Saradha Chit Fund Scam alleging that the documents provided to them were manipulated and few were even missing.

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.

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